Copyright © 2005-2022 Todd Klassy Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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About once a month or more I am contacted by a photo student who is tasked with interviewing a photography. To be honest, I am always confused why someone would want to interview me for such an assignment with so many great photographers out there, but I am always willing to help. Such was the case this past week when a college student contacted me. She said she was considering a career in agriculture photography and wondered if I would answer her questions. I was of course happy to oblige. Here were my answers.

1.) Do you live on a farm?

No, but I grew up on a dairy farm. Worked on that farm for 10 years (9 to 19).

2.) What inspired you to photograph agriculture?

I love photography, but I was looking for a niche. Everyone thinks they are a photographer these days, and unless a photographer owns a niche, whether it be geographical or topical, they get lost in the fray. I began photographing the hidden roads of rural Montana and that led me to the world of ranching. And then wheat and grain farming. It kind of took off from there. Of course, my farming experience helped, too.

3.) What camera do you use?

I have several cameras. My main camera is a Canon EOS 5DS R, but I also use a Canon 5D EOS Mark III and Canon EOS 7D Mark II.

4.) Do shoot in RAW or JPEG mode?

Almost all of my photos are shot in the RAW format and then post-processed. None of the photos you see were taken in RAW and not adjusted someway in my digital darkroom.

5.) What is the best thing about agriculture photography?

The people, probably. They are down to Earth, willing to help, and they love to have their families, operation, and industry photographed. They are proud of what they do. Sometimes other subjects can be pretentious and difficult to work with. I have yet to meet anything with two legs on a farm or ranch that is difficult to work with. If it has four legs, however, that’s a different story.

6.) What’s your favorite thing to photograph when you are on a farm?

I don’t know if I have a favorite thing. I just want to make compelling photos and tell compelling stories with my camera. I could care less what the subject or topic is. What I care about is connecting whatever I’m photographing with my mind and my camera and doing the best possible job telling its story. Tell me to photograph a stop sign, and as boring as it might be, I could get excited if the photos I make are memorable.

7.) Why do you prefer agriculture photography over other photography styles?

Agriculture is really a perfect blend between (1) environmental portraiture, (2) landscape photography, (3) documentary photography, (4) still life photography, and even some (5) automotive photography (although the autos are tractors instead). So as a photographer you never get bored. You can try on different hats all of the time and not be locked to a certain style.

8.) What editing tools do you use to edit your photos?

Adobe Photoshop

9.) Is there some sort of message you trying to communicate through your photos?

Yes, there is always a message I am hoping to convey. But the message depends on the subject, lighting, etc. If it is cloudy, then maybe I want to create something moody. If it is sunny, I might want to create something whimsical. But more important than anything is arriving on site and surveying what you are seeing and asking what message or story I want to tell. Then it is up to me to make the photos that tell that story.

10.) Who are some influencers in photography that you look up to? And why do you look up to them?

The artists who have had the biggest impact on me are (1) Ansel Adams (long before I ever jumped into the world of photography, I became enamored with his photographs…every year I needed a new Ansel Adams calendar), (2) I then became a huge fan of the minimalist works of the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, (3) and as I fell in love with the world of color photography, I studied the works of Mark Rothko for his use of color and composition. (4) Lastly, I became a fan of the storytelling in Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s work.

The only other influence I think I have is one developed on my own. I grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and every spring, summer, and fall I would have to help cut hay, chop hay, rake hay, bale hay, etc. which required me to drive in circles all day long on an open-air tractor. Doing so made it easy for my mind to wander. I would play games; focusing on an object on the horizon and try to see something different in it or on the landscape in front of me.

Christmas is Soon Here
Photo Selected for 2024 Calendar

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