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A lamp sits near a tub of photographs Nov. 24, 2020 in the basement of Ron Reed's new house in Rich Hill, Mo. Ron built a new house on land he inherited from his father so his family would have a place to congregate.

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Ralph and Wilma Reed's kitchen is photographed through a window Nov. 24, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. The house has black mold and is hazardous to enter.

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The front porch of Ralph and Wilma Reed's house is photographed Nov. 24, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. The couple had three sons, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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A burn barrel sits Nov. 24, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. Burn barrels are a necessity in rural areas unreachable by trash services.

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An owl statuette sits outside of Ralph and Wilma Reed's house Nov. 24, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. Wilma had a penchant for statuettes and was known to stop at any roadside shop that sold them.

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Ralph Reed's bedroom sits empty Nov. 24, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. He died in 2017 and lived in a nursing home for the last few years of his life, leaving his house empty.

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A white-tailed deer traipses through an empty soybean field Nov. 24, 2020. It was the last day of deer season.

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In this family photograph, Marty Reed is placed on a horse by his dad, Ron, as his grandpa, Ralph, watches. Marty was Ralph's first grandchild.

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A bald eagle sits in a dead tree Nov. 25, 2020 in Rich Hill, Mo. Three bald eagles are frequently spotted in the area.

News
Work in progress continued: From this Earth
emmalee reed
Nov 29, 2020
Location: Rich Hill, Mo.
Without classes last week, I was able to spend three days on the farm in Rich Hill working on my project. I went down with my dad, which was helpful because he knows the area well and spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was pretty dark by the time we got to the farm on the first day, so I spent it finding old pictures and planning the next few days of photographing.

The second day, Dad and I revisited my great-grandpa's old house, since I didn't take much time there during my first trip. It's almost like a time capsule, everything just as it was left when my grandpa moved out during the last few years of his life. The house has black mold inside, so I took some photographs through the windows. Dad and I realized that our pandemic masks could have a second use, though, and figured it would be safe to go in if we doubled up on masks. We tried to go as quick as possible, so it felt very frantic. Dad was looking through the house while I was making photographs.

I also visited my great-aunt and uncle and interviewed them about their time on their farm. I took their portrait in the place that means the most to them. They picked their front porch swing, which faces west and where they sit with their grandkids and count down to the sunset.

Dad decided he wanted to take advantage of the last day of deer season, so I followed him out to the deer stand when he went to hunt. I made pictures of him aiming and the land around the deer stand, which is on my grandpa's property. I took a portrait of him the next morning in the place most meaningful to him, which was outside of his grandpa's house. 

Moving forward, I need to talk to my grandpa and photograph him more. At this point, I feel like my project is a bit flat and sort of like a collection of still lifes; I might need to find a way to work more people into the photographs.

I wanted to include old family photographs in the project, but the ones that are the best are glued into a photo album and I couldn't take them out and photograph them on a clean background. I tried to take interesting photos of them in the album, but I'm not sure it worked.

I'll also need to decide on a final visual presentation. I originally wanted to make a book out of my photographs, but I think I'll want to keep working on it past the project deadline. I might make some sort of web presentation out of my photographs and maybe a mock book draft to turn in for my final since we won't be presenting in person anyway.

Emmalee Reed

Emmalee Reed is a photojournalist and photo editor based in Columbia, Missouri. She specializes in documentary photography and photojournalism.
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