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Perry Dilbeck has a  BFA from Georgia State University and a MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design.  He currently
teaches photography at the Art Institute of Atlanta.  His work has been exhibited nationally and published worldwide in
magazines such as
LensWork, Photo District News, Photo Art International, Black & White, The Black & White Enthusiast,
Graphis, Europe’s Black and White Photography, Photovision: Art & Technique, The Sun, Canada’s Photo Life.  

Perry was most recently awarded an artist sponsorship from Blue Earth Alliance in Seattle, WA and also named a Vision
2003 Award Winner from the Santa Fe Center for Visual Arts.
  
More work can be seen at
www.perrydilbeck.com and through the Blue Earth Alliance web site at www.blueearth.org.

Prints are available for sale. Please inquire through
sales@photomediacenter.org.

Perry Dilbeck
"The Last Harvest"

During a recent visit to my hometown of McDonough,
Georgia, I noticed an alarming trend. Much of the
farmland around my home is vanishing rapidly due to
a sharp growth in population, not only in my
immediate neighborhood but also in the surrounding
areas and for many miles away. Replacing the fertile
landscape, numerous subdivisions are being
constructed in order to accommodate this swirl of
people moving into the area.

Twenty years ago, there were only sixteen houses on
my rural road of three miles. However, today more
than one thousand houses exist, and many more are
currently being constructed. Most of this change is due
to the commercial farming industry destroying the
business of the small independent farmer and forcing
him to make money the only way he can–by selling his
farmland.  

I can still remember an old farmer we called
“Butterbean” who lived just up the street from my
family. He had several hundreds of acres of farmland,
and he would regularly stand along the roadside
waving to anyone who might happen to drive by
throughout the day. Unfortunately, a large-scale
subdivision is now being erected on what was once
Butterbean’s property. In the past years, it was not
unusual for thirty minutes to pass before a car would
be seen or heard on the road.

The fading farm life coupled with a huge migration of
newcomers induces strong feelings of grief and
resentment inside of me. These emotions continue to
grow with each visit home. Yearning to revisit my
childhood memories, I have decided to pay homage to
the surviving workers of the land by documenting their
lifestyles with the camera.

In documenting these individuals, I decided to
concentrate on older farmers whose land and
homestead have been passed down through many
generations. Within this concentration, I focused my
attention on “truck farmers.” This is a term coined by
locals which identifies the truck farmer as a person
who typically owns less than forty acres of land and
who grows food for his family. His survival is
dependent upon selling any surplus at local farmer’s
markets, along the roadside from the back of his truck,
or at a simple stand in his own backyard. In
photographing the farmers, I wish to provide small yet
majestic glimpses into the lifestyles of these very
proud people.