I decided to look for representations of Farmers for my Youtube project and I was very surprised at what I found. I thought when I typed " Farmer" into the search engine I would be flooded with videos depicting farmers as slightly slow, dirty, and unwordly Americans in overalls with corn cob pipes portruding from their lips.... what I found was something else entirely! I was surprised to find that most of the videos had an international focus and mainly concentrated on conflicts between farmers and government institutions. Farmers in all of the videos I watched were depicted as honest and hardworking, as well as victims of oppression and other hardships. There is also a significant link between farmers and freedom, and farming as an expression of self-sufficiency as well as community.
I watched many videos, but one of the most moving was a youtube video called " The Raid of the South Central Farmers June 13, 2006" . This video tells the story of the eviction of many urban farmers in Los Angelos by the police. The land was seized and the people who fed their familes with the food they grew there were thrown out... but not without a fight. The videos uses still frames in a montage in order to show the farming community, their comming together to protest the eviction, and the seizing of the land by the police. The still frames are made more dramatic by the cameras zooming in on each still frame. The music in the film also follows the progression from the peaceful urban farm to the chaotic struggle against the police. The video begins with Bob Marley, highly activist singer, progresses to a native american song, and about half way through switches to Rage Against Machine as the police make their debute.
Another video I encountered was about Afghan farmers growing poppies in order to support themselves in a war torn country. The video was an Aljazeera production and utalized a wide angle lense to show the prominance of the land in these peoples lives. These farmers think that it is morally wrong to be a part of drug production, but feel that they have no choice. Someone has to look after the education and health of their children, and the government cannot support them, so opium must.
Yet another video with an international focus is a thank you from Oxfam who helped Ethiopian coffee farmers achieve fair trade status with Starbucks. This video ustilizes the medium shot to focus in on the ethiopian farmers Oxfam and activists helped through petitions and other forms of activism.
This video shows the tension between farmers and the governement and the lack of sufficient subsidies for farmers in both Indonesia and the U.S. The film uses wide angle lens to capture the richness and beuty of agriculture as well as using the unique4 low angle shot to show the connection between the farmers feet and the land.
The last video I will share with you is one of the most tragic. Eventhough India is recently known for its great economic boom, people fail to realize the great crisis for rural indians... who make up the majority of the population. Farmers who do get loans from the governement are unable to pay them back, and so, the suicide rate for farmers is soaring. the camera person uses many high- angled shots in order to show the subordinate and oppressed state of farmers in India.
I was pleasantly surprised at the represenations of farmers that I found on Youtube and I also now recognize that sites like youtube serve to create awareness for injustices people would otherwise be blind to. Creating visibility for hardworking people with such importance in communities is such a worthy cause, and I am happy to have been able to explore the agricultural struggles all over the world.