Minnesota State Fair 2014, a set on Flickr.
I have lived in Minnesota for 16 years and have always declined the State Fair. I imagined nothing but crowds and greasy food. This morning I was in a strange mood after sleeping poorly from the loud storm we had, and had this urge to go do something new. After realizing that the fair was opening that day, I quickly decided that I would make the best of it as a photographer.
In all honesty, I was feeling rather overstimulated and annoyed before I got there, simply by riding on the express bus to the fairgrounds. These kinds of routes are often very loud and chatty, and I have such a hard time turning off all of that background noise. Once I got into the fair and had a beer, I quickly realized that I could refocus on all of the color and activity. It wasn’t at all about participation for me, but observing and capturing the aesthetic to produce an experiential record.
Later in my visit, my mood changed significantly as I visited the various animals. The mood of the photographs changes accordingly, from color and energy, to the juxtaposition of beauty and sorrow I see in the animals. It is difficult for me to accept that right outside, people are eating them, while children are being endeared by them indoors. It is so dishonest. To think that the cages and pens at the fair are probably luxurious accommodations compared to the way animals are kept in factory farms make the whole thing seem like some sort of mythology and distraction. I recognize the food chain of the natural world, and I find it naive to make judgment about species killing other species, but it is the gratuitous and cruel nature of our attitude towards animals that bothers me. The animal photographs I took today will always be empathetic reminders for me.