62: Rachel Barrett

Rachel Barrett

Project: "Josiah's Farm"
Statement: In recent years I have shifted my attention to communal life among my peers for whom there is a resurgence of back to the land ideologies. Initially I was intrigued by the social and political significance of this movement I saw happening across the country. I wanted to investigate further, exploring the idea of collective engagement and how individuals shape their identities and understanding of self within the context of coherence among others and among the land. This project, made over five years, focuses on Josiah Early, a young man raised by a Mennonite minister in Virginia. Our lives had crossed paths in New York City and in 2006 Josiah, his best friend Ezekiel, and fellow friends began cultivating the land and their own versions of masculinity on a large property in a rural town in the Catskills. This place became their domain as they were set free and they began reconciling themselves with manhood. The photographs delve into the the desires of these young men to go to the land and create an alternative path in life. With the work I aim to explore what physically and psychologically compels them to behave in these ways, asking what makes a place a home and how do we truly define what home even means? Is the life lived one they are running to or a site of safety and an escape from a life they are running from?

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