Family working in the field circa 1950s
“The Gleaners” by Jean-François Millet
First, obviously, one is not a photograph. It is a painting, called “The Gleaners” by Millet, of women collecting the remaining wheat after harvest. It was painted around the 1850s.
Second, I didn’t take the photo. It was taken by my grandfather, and shows my family picking ears of corn that were left behind after corn picking. They, too, are gleaning. It is the 1950s.
In memory, the painting was on our porch wall.
I’m struck by the similarities of the two images almost 100 years apart.
And how women bend at the waist.
And how the earth provides.
- My family gathering potatoes in Iowa circa 1950s
This is a photo of my mom and dad, uncle and grandmother and my older sisters and brother. It looks like they are gathering potatoes from my grandparents’ field at the end of the summer. I think I will be born the next January or maybe the next.
This photo reminds me of a painting that had always hung on the porch of our home in the country. It was called “The Gleaners,” and it showed peasants going through fields to pick the last of the grain.
I like the yellowed color of this photo, which was among all my dad’s slides. Obviously, this one was taken by my grandfather, who also liked to take photos (a trait handed down to me).
There is purpose in this photo as everyone — even the smallest toddler — helps in the field.
"The Gleaners" by Jean-François Millet