Photographing grasslands: beauty, community, life

Photographer Sally Thomson‘s new book, Homeground, is a deep exploration of rangelands in the Southwest––landscapes, livestock, water, wildlife, and the stewards who keep the land thriving. With her background in landscape architecture, conservation, and land use planning, Thomson photographs in ways that reveal a deep understanding and love for the land in all its richness and diversity. The book is not human-centric; she avoids traditional portraiture and instead we see people as just one part of the greater ecosystem. Photographed over a decade, the book illuminating on many levels, with explanatory texts and essays bring additional information and context.
We’re also joined on the podcast by participants in the book, Julie Sullivan and Nancy Ranney. Sullivan is a rancher with George Whitten at San Juan Ranch in the San Luis Valley of Colorado; she’s head of mentor training and support for the for Quivira’s New Agrarian Program. Ranney manages Ranney Ranch near Corona, New Mexico, and is on the board of the Quivira Coalition and the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Association.
To purchase the book––a wonderful gift for you land-loving friends––and to learn more about the artist, go to sallythomsonphotography.com

Landscape photo by Sally Thomson

Show Notes

2’35 how Sally’s background in conservation informs the way she makes photographs
4’33 the role of grasslands in ecosystem health
8’55 how land stewardship is evolving
10’13 young people going into ag, often who didn’t grow up in agriculture
11’43 working in the food system helps people with passion, purpose, and service
13’10 when young people ask questions you have to ask yourself why you do things the way you do them
13’58 land stewards as close observers of nature
15’47 young people going into agriculture
17’03 observing the land as an artist and seeing ever more richness of life
19’55 the rich community of people with every kind of different skill contributing to land health
25’00 the importance of soil health for many reasons, including the cost of water
26’43 wind farms on ranches
28’10 market for ecology/ecosystem services
29’28 the role of private land in healthy land management
30’27 USDA wildlife corridors plan
31’25 the importance of land managers/owners coming together to negotiate with energy companies and others
33’53 seeing colors
35’31 instead of portraits, people photographed as part of the landscape
37’49 land succession challenge
39’18 the economics of the livestock industry make it almost impossible to make a l iving
42’32 sallythomsonphotography.com

How to Listen

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