Fine Art Photography Daily

Kathleen Buckalew: The States Project: Delaware

Millie Perrine, #17, Roll B, 35mm ,scan neg, 2nd time p

©Kathleen Buckalew ,Millie Perrine

I was drawn to include Kathleen Buckalew’s “Portraits of Farmers” series because farms are such an integral part of Delaware infrastructure, economy and culture. In luminous tones, her black and white work captures a few elemental to the invisible army of people our lives depend on. Kathy’s series is an essential aspect to show about Delaware so as to put faces and names to an industry and an art we take very much for granted. Like many other subjects by Delaware photographers, her tenderly collaborative images celebrate resilience in the face of challenge and a celebration of the small things.

Kathleen Buckalew is a native of Wilmington, DE, and a graduate of the University of Delaware, with a BA in Art.  She has worked as a darkroom printer and photographer at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE.

Ms. Buckalew received her MFA in photography from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, with her thesis on “Women in Community.”  She has had regular exhibitions of her work, has been interviewed for radio and TV segments, had her work published in books and magazines, and has presented her work on the “Face of Farming” to over 4,000 people.  She now teaches beginning photography and iphoneography at various places, and in private lessons.


Russell, Bob, #50, roll A, scan neg, adg

©Kathleen Buckalew, Russell, Bob, #50


I am a photographer who tells stories in words and pictures. For years, I’ve wanted to photograph our disappearing farms, before they are gone forever. With that in mind, I’ve interviewed and photographed farmers in Delaware since 2005. Even now, with agriculture still being a large, extensive, and viable industry in Delaware, we are losing farms at an alarming rate: in the entire country, we lose the equivalent of the state of Delaware in farmland every year.

The farmers have been generous with their time, driving me around their farms. They’ve been patient with my city kid questions and explained everything I asked. Their love of the land and for what they do is obvious and heart-felt. Their pride in who they are is palpable, and their frustration with people’s attitudes toward them and what they do is equally obvious.

As an artist, I can relate to the farmer because of the similarity between artists and farmers. Both groups have difficulty making a living at what we do, we both work very hard, we are not always appreciated for our work, we often have to have another job to support what we do, and there is some spiritual aspect to what we do. And yet, even when there is a drought year after year, or we never sell a painting, we keep doing it, day after day: WHY? And the answer from each farmer was the same as my own: because I have to; because it’s important; because it’s what I do; because it’s in my blood; because I love it. It’s that simple: because they love it.

Ruth _ Jim Baxter, #43, scan neg, with adj, unsharp mask, no color adj

©Kathleen Buckalew, Ruth and Jim Baxter, #43

Tim Bell, custom grower, Greenwood, DE

©Kathleen Buckalew, Tim Bell, custom grower, Greenwood, DE

Burli Hopkins

©Kathleen Buckalew, Burli Hopkins

Pettit, Cody, 2007, #54, scan neg, adj

©Kathleen Buckalew, Pettit, Cody

Grace Caulk, Woodside, DE

©Kathleen Buckalew, Grace Caulk, Woodside, DE

Hap Cook, Newark, DE

©Kathleen Buckalew, Hap Cook, Newark, DE

Jay Baxter, Georgetown, DE

©Kathleen Buckalew, Jay Baxter, Georgetown, DE

Jim Bennett

©Kathleen Buckalew, Jim Bennett

kbuck 05 Jimmy Wells, grain farmer, Slaughter Beach, DE p

©Kathleen Buckalew, Jimmy Wells, grain farmer, Slaughter Beach, DE

Ruth Linton, Wilmington, DE p

©Kathleen Buckalew, Ruth Linton, Wilmington, DE

Sam Yoder, Willliamsville, DE

©Kathleen Buckalew, Sam Yoder, Willliamsville, DE

Sara Busker, #43

©Kathleen Buckalew, Sara Busker

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