In Sharp Focus

Four Seasons on the Farm

| August 2005

Growing up on a farm in rural Illinois 75 years ago, Ronald Lovelock was captivated by what we now call technology. Anything mechanical and anything new - like amateur photography - was of interest to him. In this photo essay, a remarkable set of photos taken by Lovelock offers a rare look at Depression-era farm life near his home at Saunemin, Ill., roughly 80 miles southwest of Chicago.

Lovelock worked nearly half a century as a railroad engineer. His photos (taken when he was in his mid- to late-20s) show a clear talent for composition and technique. They capture the essence of farm life in a natural and relaxed, yet informative, manner. Those featured span a period from 1926-31.

A lifelong bachelor, Lovelock delved into a variety of hobbies and interests, most of which remained unknown to others. It is perhaps his photos that paint the clearest picture of Ronald Lovelock. Spend time with them, and you begin to sense a young man's curiosity, his deep interest in the world around him, and his abiding affection for farm life.