Picking Cotton

Last weekend, I went out in the morning to find something to photograph.  My husband asked what I was looking for, and I answered, “I don’t know.  I’ll know when I see it.”  This is usually how I work.  I don’t often have a preconceived idea of what I want to photograph when I go out.  I like to go with the flow and just see what catches my eye.

This particular morning I was getting somewhat frustrated because the area we had gone to just happened to be under construction and the whole (dirt) road was being watered repeatedly by a truck going back and forth, turning the whole thing into a massive mudhole.  Not great for walking on!  So my husband suggested walking down this path that led to…nowhere.

I wasn’t that excited about it, but there weren’t many other options, so I agreed.  We walked for awhile down a path bordered by trees and empty fields on either side and I was about ready to give up and head home when we saw a scooter parked on the edge of the path up ahead.  As we got closer, we saw a woman in the field near the scooter.  A woman and her children.  We stopped and I decided to go in and see if I could talk to her.  It turned out she and her children were picking cotton in their field.  It was harvest time.  It was a huge job, done painstakingly, piece by piece, all by hand.  All were doing their share, down to the 3 year old little girl.  They were uncomplaining and seemed to be enjoying their work.  They agreed to let me photograph them, and thanked me when I left them.  I said, “No!  Thank YOU!”  I was the one who walked away with the gift of not just photographs, but of having been allowed (warmly!) to enter into their life for a short period of time.  I left amazed at the hard work that some people have to endure just to survive.  We are so blessed and have so much and in so many ways, have quite an easy life.  Yet despite their difficult life, they have such a positive attitude, and live with joy.  A good lesson to remember.

Here are some of the images I made:


Mother and son at work in the cotton field.


Everyone hard at work.


Even the 3 year old helped out!


Hard at work with a sweet helpfulness.


A curious glance for the foreign woman!


Picking, a close up.


Cradling the hard earned fruit of her labours.


The process of extracting the cotton from the plant.


Hands, hard at work.


Collecting the cotton.


Hands and cotton.


This burlap bag collected the cotton bit by bit as they picked.


Sun kissed cotton.

2014-11-02_0014A family photo before I left.  Such a sweet family!

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