Brian, a city-dwelling friend of mine, recently traveled through a long stretch of farmland to meet with me and remarked on what a boring drive he experienced.

It reminded me of photographer Larry Kanfer who originally lived in Oregon and moved to the Midwest. Kanfer was initially apprehensive about seeing beauty in someplace that was flat instead of full of mountains and forests. He came not only to appreciate the prairie but to publish several volumes of photographs from America’s heartland.

His second book, On Second Glance, shares a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree:

“Everyone should look around, carefully and more than once. A quick look will not reveal everything in these images, just as a quick look – out your car window while traveling down the interstate – will not allow you to see the beauty that surrounds you. It is the second glance – and the third – -that will help you appreciate the Midwest.”

 On Brian’s trip home, he reflected on a problem that we had discussed at our meeting and came up with a new and creative solution. “Turns out there’s inspiration in them there corn fields,” he texted. Yes. Yes, there is.

If at first you see a landscape, meet a person or encounter a situation that appears to be “flat”, take a second glance. I’m sure there is beauty and inspiration there, too.

Quote source: On Second Glance, Midwest Photographs by Larry Kanfer, 1992, University of Illinois Press

See Larry Kanfer’s photographs here (mine below).

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