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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Frank Hamrick

SPE Member since 2003
Member Chapter: South Central


I grew a garden for three summers when I lived in Athens, Georgia. The first garden generated a small plot of potatoes about the size of a double bed. The next year I grew more potatoes while adding turnips, collards, peppers and watermelons. Tailgaters stole the peppers and melons on game day as caterpillars progressively ate their way through the turnips and collards I failed to consume myself or trade for fried chicken with the soul food restaurant in front of my house. The garden grew bigger and more plentiful each year. The soil became rich from continually mulching in the giant tea bags I got everyday at closing time from the restaurant. The grocery co-op in town had sunflower seeds for sale the third summer. Many of these flowers became a deep red I had never seen before. Their stalks grew ten feet tall before falling over in the wind.

The constant success of my potatoes inspired me to plant other underground foods, including carrots. It was a busy spring and I never thinned the rows. During the harvest I discovered two carrots firmly wrapped around one another. I washed them off, made a quick snapshot and gave them as a present that night to the girl I was dating at the time. I have tried since then to grow more intertwined carrots to photograph, but have not been able to come close to the success I had with that original garden in Athens.

One summer I photographed dozens of tree roots on the bank of a creek. I thought about how people stay in an area when it provides something they need, but move on when things dry up. I bounced back and forth between New Mexico and Georgia for years after leaving my full time job in Athens. I was never in one place long enough to plant and harvest a garden. My wandering went on to include Italy and Maine before reaching my current residence in Louisiana. It is only during the past few summers that again I have been able to harvest potatoes and carrots and other plants that grow down into the ground.

Several of my garden images challenge conventional notions of beauty. A plant blown down in a storm that has the perseverance to grow back up again is more beautiful to me than one that grows straight, yet lacks character. Some of my photographs are constructed images where I consciously decide what to discard and what to keep. Other images are simply my documentation of what I see as being notable, whether it is good, bad or something I realize is impermanent and will be seen by others only if I take the time to save it in the small way I can.

The pieces I make have particular meaning to me, but I understand other people will see them in their own way. My photographs are not necessarily created to illustrate or provide answers. If anything, I would like for my images to generate more questions. I do not see them as endpoints, but rather starting places where I give the viewer ideas to ponder and allow room for their imagination to create the rest of the story.

The first hardback edition of the handmade book "Harvest" is limited to twenty-five copies available in blue, green or purple. Twelve images are inkjet printed and the text is LaserJet printed on 50lb., double-sided, matte, Red River paper. The covers and end sheets are cotton rag paper handmade at Green Street Press at the University of Georgia. The cover imagery was printed on an etching press using a polymer plate produced by Boxcar Press. The book measures approximately 7 3/8 x 7 3/8 inches and has a total of twenty pages. An edition of twenty-five softcover copies were produced, but are no longer available.

The photographs were made in Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee and Italy and are selections from the series Hideaway, On The Mountainside, House to Home and A Nice Place To Visit. Portions of the text have previously appeared in the one of a kind books Passing and The Wallet Book.

Harvest can be bought online at:

Or checks can be sent to:

Frank Hamrick
PO Box 3175
Ruston, LA 71272

"Harvest" hardback, first edition is $60.00 plus $5.00 for shipping in the U.S.

Thanks for you time,

Frank Hamrick

"Harvest" Title Page

Sunflower House


Intertwined Carrots

Watermelon #1


Camucia Grass

Pumpkin Leaves

Walnut Creek Roots

Carrot Harvest

Pear Tree

Corn Stalks

Elizabeth Holding Wild Fruit



"Harvest" Roots Spread


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