"A photo near the end of Tobacco Harvest: An Elegy shows a crew of workers, looking weary but satisfied, leaving the barn after another long day of harvesting tobacco. As Wendell Berry says in his essay, these Henry County, Kentucky, neighbors gathered together whenever any of them needed the help of the others. This time-honored practice of swapping work was, Berry writes, "a good way to get work done" and "a good way to live.""
"A meditation on the shifting nature of humans' relationships with the land and with each other, Berry's essay laments the economic, political, and societal changes that have forever altered Kentucky's rich agricultural traditions. Berry also adds a deeply personal perspective to Hall's visual testimony.
With a farm of his own nearby, Berry was a longtime friend and neighbor of the families shown in Hall's pictures and took part in their work swapping. In addition to detailing the repetitive, strenuous labor involved in harvesting a tobacco crop, he relates memories of stories told, laughs shared, meals savored, and brief moments of rest and refreshment well earned."
"Hall's photographs illuminate the characters and events that Berry describes. During the 1973 harvest, he photographed the rows stretching toward the horizon while laborers cut a tobacco crop, one plant at a time, until the last row was cut, hauled, and housed in the barn. These photographs convey the physical experiences of a Kentucky tobacco harvest: the heat of the sun, the dirt, and the people hard at work."--Jacket.