The Southern Illinois University Museum submitted D.Gorton's proposal to the Illinois Humanities Council, which funded the exhibit in fall, 2000. The exhibit was mounted in the Museum in Carbondale, January-March 2001.
The Proposal: D. Gorton
I propose to mount a photographic exhibit of the 21st century rural landscape of central and southern Illinois. The project will be part of an ongoing worldwide photographic essay that deals, primarily, with the rural social landscape and architecture associated with major crops such as cotton, corn, sugar, and tobacco.

As a photojournalist for magazines and The New York Times, I have been struck by the coherence of the visual and social environment that surrounds major cropping areas. Driving through the Texas panhandle, the Imperial Valley in California, and the Mississippi Delta, the landscapes are profoundly more alike than different. The same is true I'm sure we've all noted, of sugar, tobacco, corn, and soybeans.

The farm landscape shifts when irrigation is the prime method of watering, allowing for a bleakness relieved only by the leafing plants, buildings and laborers, and the omnipresent sky. But even here the similarities grow as Delta cotton farms expand into larger and larger units, unbroken by fencing or tenant houses, and uniformly smoothed by enormous earth shaping machinery.


Please note:throughout this proposal a number of images are linked to further information. Just click on them.

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