Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture—and a Passing Way of Life

For 45 Years, David Hanks Has Photographed Feed Mills in Every Season and Mood

“Why would anyone want to take pictures of a place like this?”

That’s the question I often get when I enter the office of a feed mill or grain elevator, asking permission to make photographs on the property or inside the buildings.

Showing other photos that I’ve taken usually satisfies the operator that I’m not working for the local tax assessor or real estate agent, and I receive permission to proceed.

But it’s a good question: Why do I keep up with this activity? What is the motivation? There is no coherent …


Flat on
my back

up at

a map of
my own

mind the
elm tree’s


left to

the wind.

Words With Landscape

1. Llorona

The rabbit brush is what locates us

on the lateral side of what, in Spanish, is an acequia
and, in English, a drainage ditch.
It’s hard not to have a …


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they …