Interview by Heather Elder
In a world so constantly polarized like opposite ends of a magnet, Jason Lindsey’s Corn Futures project is a breath of fresh air. Inspired by equal parts yearning for common ground and visually stunning agricultural components, Jason takes us to rural Illinois to show that we have more to gain when we work together than apart.
‘Corn Futures’ comes together in a combination of red and blue strobes against a stark black background, highlighting textures and colors, acting as a representation of our current social fabric. Jason’s connection to the land along with his ability to craft narratives as a path to a deeper understanding of the world comes together as a striking visual project, opening the door to a broader conversation. Like many of its viewers, we were intrigued and wanted to learn more about this project. Read on to hear more on the inspiration and where Jason sees this project going in the future.
This project is a bit different from what you typically shoot in your commercial work, can you explain the inspiration?
At the very beginning of COVID I was working on a project at the University of Illinois in the agricultural research labs. I was there very early in the morning when it was still dark and was working in the research greenhouses that grow corn and soybeans. Each greenhouse has grow lights inside that were very distinct and honestly, kind of strange looking. However, strange can also be very visually interesting. It reminded me of a futuristic, science fantasy vibe and I knew immediately I wanted to pursue it further in a creative way.
The colors in these images are very distinct, can you speak to how you settled on these specific colors?
I live in rural Illinois but am often working in big cities. I hear a lot of people talk about rural people and communities where they have a very specific stereotypical vision of those people, and vice versa. It is understood that rural communities must be super conservative and that my clients from urban areas must be very liberal. There are these blue and red lines drawn in the sand and as a liberal artist living in a rural area, but I can draw from both perspectives to see humanity in a deeper way beyond those red versus blue stereotypes. Our country is so incredibly divided which was exacerbated by the pandemic. We need to find common ground. This idea came to me as I was working in the greenhouses I mentioned before, so this idea to light them with red and blue as a metaphor started coming together.
Did any of the coloring come in post production?
No. there is virtually no post production done to these images other than raw processing. The lighting was such a fun and a compelling part of this project that added to the overall intention. In some of the photographs, the red and blue came together and the light turned green. I thought this was a great representation of how we could all come together and move forward; green conceptual meaning “go”. Some of the photos have green and some have more purple, all to represent the variety of political leanings we have in this country.
Where do you see this project going in the future?
I’m not here to change minds with this project, rather provide a catalyst for a civil discussion. When I came up with this idea, I immediately thought it would be cool to have an exhibit of these images in a barn and host a dinner. Half of the people liberal and half conservative, from rural and urban cities, coming together over food to talk in a compassionate way. It would be so awesome to have this work spark a conversation for people to come together and learn from one another.
Jason’s project ‘Corn Futures’ is available to purchase on Jason’s fine art site. Link here to learn more.