In 1994, after thirty-three years, Paula Chamlee returned home to photograph and write about the farm where she grew up on the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, a farm where her parents, then in their late eighties, still farmed their 1,100 acres all by themselves. With intensity and insight, she has created a work of extraordinary depth and cultural significance. This emotionally charged and aesthetically powerful document provides an intimate look at her home place and reveals a way of life and value system that are quickly vanishing.
Chamlee’s writing in the introduction sets her photographs in the context of Texas history and her family heritage. In addition, her extensive “Notes on the Photographs” provides information and insights about the pictures and evokes the flavor of farm life in the twentieth century. In the Foreword, George F. Thompson meditates on the profound place that rural life, especially the family farm, still holds in the nation’s collective imagination and memory. The combination of photographs and writing in High Plains Farm creates a book that will find a place of enduring value and significance not only in Texas art and history, but also in the archives of American art and cultural studies.
From the Foreword by George F. Thompson
The photographs in this remarkable book are full of information about who we are as a people and who we are as a nation. . . . Paula Chamlee’s vision extends far beyond the High Plains life of a small farm in Texas; there is an implied appreciation for the landscapes of rural America and the ideals they represent. . . . She directs her eye, heart, and soul toward her home place, and that love of place shines through with each photograph’s beauty, grace, and composition. . . . She conveys to us through the magic and integrity of photography, that truth can be found in beauty and that beauty and knowledge can be found in common places. . . . With this book Paula Chamlee has given us a great gift that can be shared with future generations.