I always love assignments from Oklahoma Living Magazine. Most are centered around people, and I love photographing people. In this case, I was assigned to photograph a story about Gene Rowe, a farmer in southwest Oklahoma. The story was written by Adam Calaway, one of my favorite writers, so I knew it was going to be a great story.
Gene wasn’t an ordinary farmer. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 3 years old. Now a bit past 80 in age, Gene had been a farmer his entire life. He didn’t let his handicap stop him from his love of farming.
For my shoot, Gene was surprisingly mobile despite being restricted to a walker and his John Deer Gator. I had two hours to photograph him and wanted to make sure I had a variety of looks for the story. When I found out he had an antique tractor he was quite proud of, I said “let’s shoot on it”. Despite the effects of CP and age, Gene was able to climb into the tractor seat and still drive it wherever I needed it.
After shooting various angles on his tractor, we switched to an old gas pump on his farm, a well as his gator in stand of new winter wheat.
I was very happy with the layout, story, and photos. This turned into a story I was proud to be a part of, a story about a unique Oklahoman – my favorite subject.