I see this look a lot and it is charming. I live around lots of Amish and Mennonites – they are in a broad spectrum of dress. If she is indeed a Mennonite, she's towards the "worldly" end, as opposed to "plain", because of the prints she wears.
I love the summer sun on the corn in the background.
Well, you've captured summer! -the dirty feet being the crowning detail of this shot. This one is particularly touching to me because i have three daughters of my own (the eldest slightly younger than this) out here in the Virginia countryside.
a moment in time. almost unbelievable. but this picture is the proof that in this life, it is a trip. and some days you see people like this and other days you see Anna Dello Russo…. that's just the way it goes for people that are seeking inspiration in their landscape. respect. xo
Thanks for the insight, Margo. And yes, I agree. This (and Scott's photo on July 30) give hope that it's not all Miley wannabes. Also love how Scott's photos show that "fashion" is really a reflection of different kinds of worlds/cultures/life styles.
Woodward? I used to go to gymnastics camp around there. The camp which consisted of mostly bmx/skateboarding hopefuls was pleasantly placed right near Amish countryside. We would see them walking trails all the time! What great memories this photo has brought me.
This picture gave me such a huge, sweet rush of memory. I was raised in Southeast Asia, but whenever we came home to the US, we'd visit my Grandma Althea, who lived in rural Ohio. It was so different from the tropics and, because of that, so distinct now in my memory. It's the bare feet. I know EXACTLY how that feels. Bare feet on the road. And being a little dirty and a little tired, but OUTSIDE. The time of day…Especially the sun-baked smell of the the land and the asphalt… I was her. Wow. I'm a little happy and a little sad right now. Thank you for posting this.
i live in PA in a town full of amish and Mennonite families and shes clearly mennonite because if she was amish she wouldnt have had her photo taken….on another note this photo perfect it sums up the area i live in so well and everything i love about it! Its so clean and innocent. oh and im 16:)
it 's the first time i leave a comment on a (fashion?) blog. I 've been "reading" yours since 2007 and i really admire your work. I think that this photo appeared to me as an opportunity to tell you that your work does not at all belong to what we usually call the fashion world( which to me has a vaguely negative sense and it's strictly related to the financial system).And i really think it is a pity that your "audience" is mostly people who belong to the fashion world. The fact you took the photo of this girl shows that you focus on different personalities from different cultures, which you try to capture through photography(even if this sounds a cliche). The previous has nothing to do with the interests of LVMH or any other similar company, that most of the time take advantage of what we call different cultures inorder to increase profits. That's why i think it would be interesting to see more of this type of photos than vogue's editor or it girls outfits during the fashion weeks.
Its sort of ironic that the Amish (if this little girl is one) do not follow fashion and make their own clothes, but in doing so their style is appealing to people like me who and others who read this blog centred on fashion; perhaps it's the simple beauty which is a breath of fresh air in an industry of excess..
ahh coming from someone who spent the first 11 years of life growing up in central PA, i know that this photo perfectly captured the essence of amish country.
however, i know a lot of amish/mennonite people don't like getting their picture taken or being filmed. so i think i can also see that slightly uncomfortable look in her eyes. either way, though, beautiful picture!
i like the fact that this photo's main focus isn't really style- this young girl's dress looks so pretty on her, even if she may or may not have a heightened awareness of fashion-this picture is simple, honest and beautiful
This reminds me of Richard Avedon's "In The American West" series, except he shot his subjects in front of a white background. I love her in her own light and environment. She's looking at you with a wary eye. This is no frivolous child. She knows the meaning of Hard Work. Her clothes are lovely, but they look durable and probably made with care by skillful hands. Her feet would not be happy crammed into fussy shoes. This is one for the ages. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Conservative Mennonites look a lot like Amish sometimes, judging by the prints, I'd say she's that.
Barefoot and dirty in farm country does not equal poverty – It signals more of that wholesome down on the farm vibe than anything. ON that note, many Amish and Mennonites have actually quite a bit of money in the bank due to their simple lifestyles, community effort, and disdain for mainstream values (including belongings and fashion).
Lack of shoes doesn't automatically spell poverty… (to the prior poster). I grew up barefoot by choice. Running around the neighborhood with the grass between my toes was wonderful. No poverty about it, at least not in my case. Don't jump to conclusions.
Also, I don't think she looks sad. If anything, she's just looking at you, intently.
Incredible early morning photograph Scott, the lighting is exquisite. She is a lovely young girl. I too, have lived near and done business with The Amish. They are a quiet, graceful, and highly artistic people. I love the faded dream-like colors of her faded smock and dress that seem to fade into the shiny bright background. She looks as though she's already been working hard today. Very pretty!
I think she looks wise and confident that she knows something that you donâ€™t. She has the freedom to go barefoot on a summer day if she wants to. Her fabric patterns are artfully chosen to compliment each other in color and scale. This could have been the inspiration for Ralph Laurenâ€™s Spring 2010 collection.
This is a psychologically charged shot: The girl, who seems at first glance to be emblematic of youth and innocence is standing firm with unprotected feet on gravel. Her floral frock and apron are sullied,her expression wary, her arms and hands tautly positioned as protection. There is care implied by her plaited hair and rolled sleeves, but there is real potential here for rough and tumble. The contrast of the dappled green and the grey gravel mirrors the girl's esprit. The fact that she's on hard gravel, not on the soft grass is revealing. Very Andrew Wyeth.
This reminds me of Pocahantus almost. I love this photograph, everything about it is perfect. The setting is perfect, the blank and plain face is almost surreal. The floral on her dress is incredibly different than the floral most other girls are wearing. Aside from her lovely hair my favourite thing about this photograph is her blank, Mona Lisa type half-smile.
I wonder if it is appropriate to publish this picture, and open it up for commentary…? There seems to be a invasion of privacy here. I enjoy looking at all your photos and the conversations on style and fashion, but somehow it seems wrong to include this picture in this context. Did you ask her, or her parents, for permission to publish this picture, and tell her/them that there would be discussion around the way she looks? I think if I were her parents, I would not want my child to be the subject of such discussion in such a public venue, especially if I hadn't granted permission beforehand. But maybe you did ask, and everything's cool.
if i may volunteer information to the crowds of people asking if she is Amish; no, she is Mennonite, which is similar to Amish. but they are usually allowed to wear prints (Amish wear only solid colors) and use a few more of the "worldy comforts", plus they are a bit more open to being photographed (Amish will not let you photograph them. at least not with their faces showing). i agree with the people who asserted that being barefoot doesn't equal poverty. in the Amish/Mennonite/farming culture, it is quite common for the children (and even adults, sometimes) to go barefoot in the summer just because the weather is nice enough to do it. let's admit, nothing feels quite as nice as walking through lush grass with your shoes off.
all of that being said, the girl IS lovely, and looks as though she is quite somber about having her photo taken so close up by a "worldy" man.
What a refreshing image to see amongst the fashionistas in my blog roll! The light in this photo is just gorgeous. The girl's pose and unsmiling face is so striking and beautiful, that I immediately want to know more about her. I think it's one of my favorites I've seen on this blog. A real picture of humanity.
I think she's Amish, I was living near the Amish in West Chester for some time. She looks suspicious of the camera and set in her ways already. I do like her outfit, and the bare feet, but her toes and fingers are a little clenched, she's not comfortable.
Many people commenting seem to be ignorant to the fact that she is Mennonite… not someone trying to channel Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. It is interesting, however, to peer into a life so different from mine.
I love this photo it does look like another era. Reading the comments–someone pointed out that bare feet doesn't always equal poverty. They're right, going barefoot is what you do when you're a kid 'cause you just want to. A few someone's have insinuated that fashion people are greedy, not too bright and insensitive. Sometimes…but fashion people don't have a monopoly on such behavior. I think some fashion people are insightful enough to tolerate and work with people with bad behavior knowing that people aren't always bad. Some fashion people have things on their minds like admiring simplicity, beauty, sharing other cultures etc.
This is what I love about summertime in Pennsylvania. Barefoot kids that look like kids. Welcome to Centre county. Make sure you stop by the Elk Creek Tavern it's down the road from Woodward. I recommend the Poe Paddy Porter.
It's interesting to think that with all of society's advancements and technologies and revolutions, humans, human nature, feelings will always be what they always were. This girl lives a life so different from many of us and yet she's exactly like us. And as far as the advancements, technologies, and revolutions…. well I think many of us can agree that they were often steps backwards rather than forwards. What I wouldn't give some days to give up my suit and skyline view office and walk around barefoot with pigtails. That is true success right there.
Stunning in it's simplicity and presentation. The young girl is beautiful with a knowledge in her eyes that bespeaks a maturity beyond her age, while her hands and feet show that of being a contributor to her family through her hard work. She will make her husband a happy man I suspect because she will treat him like a man and in return he will treat her like the queen under that raw exterior waiting to come out. Truly an epitome class photograph.
Beautiful pictures of a beautiful people.I think they are Old order Mennonites. Mennonites,even old orders, wear prints, Amish will wear bright colors but no prints.I was raised mennonite and I don't think they are averse to having their pictures I think it would be more a matter of appearing overly prideful or vain.
I have trouble with this photo. Another commenter mentioned that it recalls Avedon's In the American West, but I wonder if they realize that can be a bad thing as well? Avedon took a lot of criticism for stereotyping his subjects and subverting their individualism for the sake of his artistic project. I don't think that's the case here, and I think maybe a comparison to Walker Evans would be more accurate, but I would like to know more about the thought process behind the series. Is the purpose really to document the Sartorial achievements of this little girl and her family, or to take in their lifestyle as a whole? Likewise, when commenters mention that they love this girl's "simplicity" and compare her to fictional characters, are they doing what Avedon did, even if that's not what the artist intended? I think we should be careful of taking this girl to stand for huge concepts like other times and entire cultures.
This photo is a dichotomy for me: On one hand I'm immediately charmed by the elements of innocense, beauty, simplicity, reverence, and Summer etc. On the other hand there's an over-riding vulnerability expressed in her face and body language; it seems from the surrounds in the accompanying photos that her clothes and limbs are dirty from working a day in those fields, not playing. I hope she went home to a loving family, good food, a warm bath and a clean bed … and expectations of a free and fabulous future. LB
I remember going to Pennsylvania and visiting Dutch country with my church when I was younger. The flee market in Lancaster Pennsylvania has so many delicious foods and local finds created by the Amish.
Just looking at this image I feel psychologically naked, transparent to her gaze, as if she has the power to pierce the veil of space and technology between us and is staring directly into my eyes with no distance between us. Amazing and a little unsettling.
There's almost the air of a fawn that's suddenly stepped out of the woods, confronting the unfamiliar. For all her tidy braids and sweet flower prints, there's something pure and wild there. Poised, tender but wary, her strong young hands a little tense while her bare feet seem planted securely in the certainty that this random moment is fleeting — soon life will resume its natural course, the photographer going on his way and she hers. Can she possibly be aware of how painfully lovely she is? Not that such admiration would necessarily be meaningful or welcome to her, especially coming from the perspective of anonymous strangers, but for something this beautiful to exist is almost heartbreaking.
No artifice. No false modesty. Only the grave and simple dignity of a wise-beyond-her-years young woman captured in a random moment that I suspect she will never forget. Will you, Scott? I know I won't.
Aside from all that, the aesthetics of the image are perfect. It's like a visual poem. The natural light, the textural juxtapositions, the mood, the colors, everything. Even the fact that her wearing flowers is almost ironic considering she's what's really blooming here, like a tough, bright little dandelion thrusting its way up through a crack in the sidewalk. Just extraordinary, and I think a creative leap for you. Thank you.
I like these photos- they do indeed depict innocence but also the true beauty of a country lifestyle-I would love to see more photos from outside of the city's madness- lets see what the country folk are wearing!
I'm moved. You wouldn't find little girls dressed like this in Italy, not even in the most secluded valleys of the Alps. They have desappeared leaving place for bad fashion. Good job as always, far beyond the mere issue of style.
If you look at the other pictures of this family that are posted, you'll see that the younger children are much more playful and innocent toward the camera.
This oldest daughter, though, in the family shot above, is looking skeptically at mom for approval. She is not sure what to make of this stranger who wants to take their picture, and she's not sure if it's okay.
Lest you think I am presuming too much, many of my relatives were old order Mennonite, so this is a familiar scene.
My goodness, what a gorgeous photograph! I love how the warm yellow light of the sky and the bright yellow of the light through the foliage is reflected so perfectly in her dress.
Her dress is also an interesting sartorial choice, the pattern is so sweet and matches so perfectly with her blue and green apron. It reminds me that sartorial choices are made everyday by people who take pride in their clothes (or maybe in this case the clothes of their children) in a way that has no relationship to fashion.
It makes clothes once again a necessity and the desire to express oneself through clothes something that is universally human.
Beautiful photos! Somehow they reminded me of how the mass media influences our sense of fashion/style. We try to copy, consciously or unconsciously somebody we see in magazines,films,TVs, and of course from The Sartorialist. While it is good to know what the trends and new things are on the market,I sometimes become tired of just even looking at them and want to be "MYSELF". I think it was a great idea of yours to post these photos of such natural style. It's just their life style.
Love the things like this that show a wider scope of people. That said, it's a shame that people think these kids are captured from another time. They're of our world, not some alternate universe stuck in the past.
These are beautiful images of rural america. thank you for reminding me that fashion is so much more than designer labels, trends, and sales analysis reports.
I have been thinking a lot about mixed prints, and vintage dresses, mostly inspired by the FSA-OWI Collection on the Library of Congress. The color images of farm families during the great depression are so haunting and lovely. Your photos of this family are timeless in the same way.
Your photo captures an honesty that is raw and in the subject of a young girl makes me feels more than a little sad. She looks so lovely but her face seems older than her years, it just holds on the pure beauty that only children have.
I wonder why her hands and forearms are brown but not her face or legs, so it's not from being outside. The sleeves of her dress are rolled up but just to keep cool or ready to work? She looks more like she spends a lot of time elbow deep possibly in washing?
This is an amazing photo–it's beautiful, haunting, and utterly unromanticized. We see the physical evidence of her hard work. More importantly, the look in her eyes forces us to think, not just emote and gush. It's impossible, of course, to know a person or situation from one photo, but part of the point of any portrait is to engage us in considering the humanity and situation of another, and, in the process, reflect upon ourselves… and that's what this does.
As a viewer, I find that the look in this young woman's eyes blows away any easy, comfortable outsider assumptions about the "innocence" or "charm" of orthodox Anabaptist life.
As some commenters suggest, she may already be wary of and at odds with the world that surrounds her, but I see something different: a young woman who is fully aware of the strictures of her life and (while she may not think in these terms) who knows that she is facing a life filled with both great beauty _and_ rigid, restrictive social roles and expectations. I'm guessing that come the Mennonite version of Rumspringa, she may be out of there.
I may be wrong, of course, but this photo has made me stop and think about my own knowledge, assumptions, and feelings and think critically about my responses. In other words, this is art. Bravo.
its like shes gone back in time. i love it. i just wish you would have photographed it with more heart. maybe a film camera would have worked better for this shot… well it would work better for every shot. but waterevvver
I find it interesting how so many commentators are unaware of the possible other side of this innocence…I can't help but feel sorry for these Amish children who don't have a choice and live in a culture that rejects modernism. These girls will surely grow up to crave what they are missing here in your fashionable photos (like everygirlUSA)
I think a lot of people are looking at the overall shot, but the first thing I thought about was: man, those are beautiful patterns. Separate, they could look youthful, but together they give this more matured, experienced look. A good catch and a great shot for being on the road.
One of my favourites ever from your site. There is something in all of us that yearns for the simple life she seems to have been plucked from. If fashion is based on a fear of being left behind or excluded, then I believe your pictures transcend this and become more of a search for pure inspiration and beauty.
I absolutely love this photo! The girl is so beautiful, and the light! However. I can't help feeling a bit sad. Is she aloud to be a child? Her eyes tell me different. I can't see fashion in this allthough the cloths are wonderful. Beautiful, but sad.
Commentors realise that these clothes are all home-made, probably by their mother? Usually passed down to the next generation as well. They are likely Mennonites, not as strict as Amish and permit photos, and have contact with "outsiders". Great builders, furniture makers, craftsmen. Happy,healthy people.
Beautiful photo, love the bare feet. I sincerely hope she does NOT end up in Vogue, unless of course that is her wish. I love the Sartorialist, and love that it's not always about fashion. There are other things in this life, and running barefoot through cornfields without a care in the world is how I choose to imagine this girl.
First of all, this really is the most incredible photograph I've ever seen on this site. The lighting is gorgeous, and you chose a striking subject.
On the other hand, many of the comments on this photo really bother me. It seems clear that most readers have no understanding of or exposure to Mennonite culture…or strict religious cultures in general. There isn't anything particularly innocent or charming about this sort of life, even if she is perfectly happy and content with it. There is a lot of hard work, children often have a lot of responsibility starting at a young age (especially oldest children), and there tends to be a lot of rigidity and guilt that are just a part of everyday life.
Anonymous at 1:49 PM: "…a young woman who is fully aware of the strictures of her life and (while she may not think in these terms) who knows that she is facing a life filled with both great beauty _and_ rigid, restrictive social roles and expectations. I'm guessing that come the Mennonite version of Rumspringa, she may be out of there."
I actually agree…this girl already has the look of one who will leave as soon as she is able. OR she will stay and become among the most rigid Anabaptists in her community. I speak from experience. But perhaps I am reading too much into it.
Regardless, imagining this girl's life as one of pastoral perfection does a great injustice to her life experiences. And I think this single photograph invalidates this romantic belief.
Thank you for the extraordinary and thought-provoking image.
First i saw that gorgeous hair and the beautiful dress and i think what a lovely and beatiful girl, so simple and with lot of beauty, but them when i saw that dirty feet i felt sad but i dont forget her beauty just make me admire more and make the picture even better… Cause not only shows fashion also sadness, REALITY, SHOW FEELINGS!
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(Fast forward into the future of 2018). Has anyone relocated her to see what she looks like today? Most people remember the beautiful Afghan girl from the “Time” cover. I’m guessing she is a wife and mother by now.