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Fordson tractor plan view #3 - Limited Edition of 30 Photograph

Andy Barter

United Kingdom

Photography, Giclee on Paper

Size: 15.7 W x 20.5 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

My grandfather used Fordson tractors on the family farm up until my father took over in the mid-1960s. Descriptions of them formed much of the framework for the stories I was told of our farm from the 1940s and 1950s. Since a hot spark plug fired more rapidly, the oven my Grandmother’s Sunday roasts were cooked in was commandeered on weekdays for the heating of the Fordsons' oil smelling plugs. Stories of my grandfather running from the kitchen early in the morning, hands burning, with hot plugs wrapped in his cloth hat, to the shed where the tractor waited, made the whole business of starting the Fordson sound less than straight forward. He had two Fordsons at this time - the more benign of the two had rubber tyres, the other steel wheels to give traction. Its back wheels had bolt-on spuds, giving an uncomfortable and noisy ride on anything less than damp earth. It had a four-speed gearbox, a steering wheel, a choke, and a notched throttle for varying its speed. From Dad’s 6-year-old-boy's perspective - he was the assigned clutch operative - the clutch had an impossibly high travel, which meant he had to stand on it with two feet. It had to be raised gently, especially near the top of its travel. Too quick, and you risked a stalled tractor and a firm reprimand - little wonder that my father in those days preferred the cart horse, Sally. At lunchtimes, the Fordson became the homeward-bound method of transport of up to five persons, mostly clinging on for dear life. Invariably, it was Dad's elder brother John behind the wheel, who believed the Fordson only operated efficiently in top gear and full throttle. Thankfully, old Daryll the labourer didn't share this view, and every now and then a huge hairy arm with a sunburnt patch under its torn sleeve would steal quietly forward to push the throttle in. From as far back as I can remember, tractors have been a ubiquitous presence in my life. Although I chose not to follow in the farming family tradition, and my father left farming in the mid-80s, my farming childhood provided the foundations of my life. The tractor in this image is one of three old Fordsons which lay quietly rusting in my home village of Bowerchalke, not far from our old farm. Unused and forgotten, they've endured unloved in a hedge for forty years, under the trees on an overgrown bank of the River Chalke known as 'Sheep Wash'. Fordsons like these worked the fields long before I was born and to my younger self, these tractors seemed impossibly antiquated in comparison to the super-modern, angular 1970s tractors I was impressed by. Recently, a plan was hatched in the village to remove the tractors from their muddy resting place. Nearly half a century of English weather had given the machines a unique patina, one that I was keen to photograph. With this in mind, it was agreed that I would photograph them before they were stripped down for restoration. Once extracted and pulled from the bank, (the word 'tractor' was actually taken from the Latin word 'to pull') these once-staples of the English landscape, now reduced to rusting relics, were transported to a local engineer and then to large grain barn where I would photograph them. I wanted to record the tractors just as they came out of the hedge - with roots, soil, bird shit and ivy still attached to them. The story of these machines told in rust, dents and missing panels. It seemed to me that these tractors, once great sculptures of the landscape, were now, in turn, sculptured themselves by the wind and rain from that same landscape. There is an almost toy-like quality to large objects when shot from a bird's-eye view, the scale is somehow abstractly distorted. I was no stranger to toy tractors in my early youth, and there was an odd comfort and elation when perched twenty feet directly over these old machines. Sat beneath me, they appeared almost like giant versions of those childhood toys, the tractors' textural history and geography mapped out before me. The devastating effect of the relentless elements on even the most robust of machines gave them a fragile demeanour. Weather had muted the colours of their paintwork - the greens and browns of rust and moss that served to camouflage them so well in the landscape now complimented the barn floor. The symmetry and simplicity of design was all so gloriously obvious at this angle. This image makes up a small series of three tractors all shot in the same location from this viewpoint. It’ll be a long time before the tractors will look like this again, if ever...

Details & Dimensions

Photography:Giclee on Paper

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:30

Size:15.7 W x 20.5 H x 0.1 D in

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I am a photographer based in central London. I have been shooting editorially and commercially for 25 years, My work has largely been to create imagery for luxury brands and publications . Clients include Omega, Patek Philliepe,Dunhill, Selfridges and Net-A-Porter and magazines such as British Vogue, Wallpaper* Esquire and GQ. I have worked on my own personal projects through out that time and have gained recognition for my projects including 'Mixed' which is a project about the lives and experiences of people who have grown up in a family that perhaps surprises others. The images present different family members, a parent, a child, a sibling or a grandparent all of whom are related. My aim was to show how society is evolving and changing, and how as it does we are all encouraged to think differently. Whilst the differences are seen on the surface through skin colour, I believe the real changes are more than skin deep and that in effect we are witnessing a coming together not only of cultures, but class, religion and genealogy. I am in a mixed relationship and together with my partner we have three children who I believe represent this aspect of a changing society. The work was exhibited 20 September 2017 – 25 May 2018, at the Migration Museum, London. No Turning Back: Seven Migration Moments that Changed Britain. In 2012 I shot 'Kiss' which was Exhibited as part of 'Kus. Von Rodin Bis Bob Dylan' at The Bröhan Museum, Berlin from June 15th - October 3rd 2017, curated by Dr Anna Grosskopt. The Exhibition included work by Auguste Rodin, Edvard Munch, Alex Poulson and Bob Dylan. The Brohan Museum is an art and design museum devoted to art of the modern period it houses a unique collection of art nouveau and art deco. The work was also covered in the guardian magazine and The Times. I have the recipient of numerous photographic awards including Communication Arts AOP Awards D&AD Campaign Press Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival Club des Directeurs Artistiques

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