Portrait of My Fatherís Dairyland
ďNobody cares about the farmer because heís only 1% of the population. He has no political clout anymore. As long as people can get their groceries cheap they donít give a damn what happens to him. Period. And, It is only going to get worse.Ē
-Mark Wittenwyler, my father
My fatherís generation is the first to see most of its children leave its hometown, Monticello, Wisconsin in search of professions outside farming. The average age of the farmer is twice what it was a generation ago because they must work longer. Farmers cannot find consistent help or coax their children into running the farm because so many know the family business is a losing proposition.
After three generations, my fatherís way of life and value system, typically idealized as American, is dying. His sense of loss manifests itself in disgust and depression.
Through my fatherís eyes, I have tried to record the people he knows before they become a lost generation. My father serves as guide, translator and narrator for my interviews and documentary photography. While collaborating on this project, my fatherís energy and commentary is inexhaustible. Rejuvenated by documenting a way of life he values, the work alleviates some of his disillusionment, providing him with purpose and hope. (Brooklyn, NY)