Paula Chamlee - High Plains Farm

Paula Chamlee - High Plains Farm


Photographs and Text by Paula Chamlee
Foreword by George Thompson

Limited to an edition of 2,750 regular hardbound copies and a signed, numbered, custom-bound and slipcased limited edition of 250.

Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places: 1996

After thirty-three years, Paula Chamlee returned home to photograph and write about the farm where she grew up on the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, a farm where her parents, now in their late eighties, still farm their 1,100 acres all by themselves. With intensity and insight, she has created a work of extraordinary depth and cultural significance. This emotionally charged and aesthetically powerful document provides an intimate look at her home place and reveals a way of life and value system that are quickly vanishing.

Every detail in the production of this exquisite book was supervised by the photographer and produced to the exacting standards that are a hallmark of Lodima Press. The photographs, from 8x10-inch and 5x7-inch contact prints, are reproduced on heavy cover stock by Gardner Lithograph with exceptional fidelity to the tonal delicacy and luminosity of the original prints. A sturdy and elegant French-fold dust jacket protects and complements this fine book.

Chamlee's writing in the introduction sets her photographs in the context of Texas history and her family heritage. In addition, her extensive "Notes on the Photographs" provides information and insights about the pictures and evokes the flavor of farm life in the twentieth century. In the Foreword, George F. Thompson meditates on the profound place that rural life, especially the family farm, still holds in the nation's collective imagination and memory. The combination of photographs and writing inHigh Plains Farm creates a book that will find a place of enduring value and significance not only in Texas art and history, but also in the archives of American art and cultural studies.


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The Special Limited Edition, limited to 250 copies, is signed, numbered, custom-bound, and slipcased. It was originally offered with the purchaser's choice of any 8x10-inch image from the book at a price that was substantially lower than the price for a photograph alone. A limited number of these special limited edition books, without a print, are available for $200.


From the Foreword by George F. Thompson

The photographs in this remarkable book are full of information about who we as people and who we as a nation. . . . Paula Chamlee’s vision extends far beyond the High Plains life of a small farm in Texas; there is an implied appreciation for the landscapes of rural America and the ideals they represent. . . . She directs her eye, heart, and soul toward her home place , and that love of place shines through with each photograph’s beauty, grace, and composition. . . . She conveys to us through the magic and integrityof photography, that truth can be found in beauty and that beauty and knowledge can be found in common places. . . . With this book Paula Chamlee has given us a great gift that can be shared with future generations.

Comments from the Reviewers

Paula Chamlee's new book is essential reading and viewing for all of us who look to our roots to comprehend the depth of life in this land called the United States. . . . Her remarkable portrayal of her family's life on the High Plains is one of the genuinely significant contributions to photography and landscape study in many a year.

Cotton Mather, Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of
Minnesota and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London


Paula Chamlee's journey home to her parents' 'High Plains Farm' could have no better transport than her camera. Here is a visual poem about lean, well kempt emotions, a sense of place, and a complementary love for the descriptive eloquence of photography. Just as her mind's eye is filled with images of experiences from the past, so too is her photographic eye guided by experiences in the present. The perception of one is the release of the other and from this union has grown Chamlee's very personal vision of unadorned reality.

James L. Enyeart, Anne and John Marion Professor of Photographic
Arts, and Director, Marion Center, The College of Santa Fe


I know of no finer evocation of life and land on the Great Plains than Chamlee's new book. It belongs alongside the works of Willa Cather.

George F. Thompson, President, Center for American Places


Paula Chamlee knows her landscapes. But, oh, these photographs are different, for these are landscapes of the human heart. And, as such, they sweep from the inner soul to the infinite horizon, delineating the terrain of our memories, the range of our passions, and the expanse of our mortality. Her series remains simultaneously epic in its vision and intimate in its humanity.

Two things the Texan understands are family and land–and especially how they combine to create that unique sensibility we call home. Thanks for going home again, Paula. And for leaving the gate open for us to follow along.

Roy Flukinger, Senior Curator of Photography and Film, Harry Ransom
Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin


. . . an absolutely remarkable book. . . . Chamlee's photographs in this book are an amazing collection of farm life in the U.S. today–and yesterday. The stark landscape of the Texas Panhandle is so beautifully captured, we doubt if another book of such a subject can ever be duplicated.

John Austin, Books of the Week


In these photograph Chamlee captures the commonplace on a small farm and somehow makes it universal. . . . High Plains Farm is one of those impossible to describe treasures that invites you to look again, and again, and again.

Judyth Rigler, Texas Books


High Plains Farm is a remarkable book. This book is a treasure that many people can appreciate, for it captures the extraordinary energy and spirit of a couple who represent the best in rural American values.

Jerry Linecum, Herald–Democrat


I was reminded of God's Country and My People by Wright Morris, but in going back to that book, I found the tone to be unexpectedly nostalgic. Chamlee's wonderful photographs are much more incisive.

Mary Sarber, El Paso Herald–Post