Cherry Harvest, The Dalles, Oregon, Migrant Farm Workers, Commercial/Industrial photography

Universal Forest Products hired me to photograph the wood fruit bins that they produce out in the field during the cherry harvest in The Dalles, Oregon. Simple enough, drive a few hours out of town early one summer morning, find a farm, take some photos. Well like any good photo assignment it had it challenges. I met with the UFP sales rep in the field and we drove out to see some of his clients. Problem was, 99.9 percent of the farmers in the area are using plastic bins, not the wood bins I was assigned to photograph. So we hopped into the car and drove off into the hills in search of wood bins. Over the hills, across a bridge, into a gorge, and down a winding road, I spot out of the corner of my eye what looks like a wood fruit bin. Eureka! We come to find Greg, third generation farmer, coming down the drive in a tractor pulling 6 large wood bins full of cherries. Apparently he is the only farmer in the area currently using wood bins, what luck. I took the rest of the day to soak up the light and photograph some of the hardest working men and women I have ever met. Migrant farmers, getting paid by the bucket full as they picked furiously in the mid-day sun. In broken english I was offered lunch and a soda from an older hispanic man who was far poorer than I will ever know, but rich with character and generosity.

- posted by Christopher Onstott -