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Amish Country Photography

Amish Country Photography: From My Favorite Photographer

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As we are all, After the Fall: somewhere … East of Eden. (Lancaster County Pennsylvania)

My brother Henry Hershey got his first camera with the S & H Green Stamps my mother saved in the 1960’s. It was an Argus 35 mm, built with metal casing, strong as a truck.

We grew up on a dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Our parents were plain Mennonites. I was the big sister, he the younger brother. I tell the story of many of our adventures in my memoir Blush.

Henry was only 15 years old when he finally put enough stamp books together to get the camera. He learned how to take pictures the way he learned how to swim – by reading about it in the World Book Encyclopedia and hanging out with other people who knew more than he did.

I could tell he wanted to be an artist with his camera.

Thanks to Henry’s camera and to his diligence in learning how to frame a picture, our whole family now has a good collection of Kodachrome photos from the farm. The picture Henry took of the Home Place was taken in 1965 and resides on both my website and Twitter home page. It also appears in my memoir as the image of a place that no longer exists.

For years Henry placed his interest in photography on the sidelines as he pursued his career in physical therapy.

Now, however, Henry has returned to an earlier dream. When I asked him what he aims for, he says,

“I hope to capture light in digital photography, to illuminate details that might ordinarily go unseen. To shine a photographer’s eye into the mundane, to see in new ways, to capture the beauty of living things.”

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Broken

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…“for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6,7 KJV

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“In the light of the King’s countenance is life; and his favor is as a cloud of latter rain.” Proverbs 16, 15 KJV

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…“wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalms 51,7 KJV

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“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mathew 11,30 KJV

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“Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.” Psalms 55.6 KJV

What dream did you pursue for a while in your youth? Is it calling to you now? What do you see in Henry’s photos? Help me thank him for sharing his gift for seeing.

*All photos were taken and captioned by Henry Hershey.

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Shirley Showalter (9 Posts)

Shirley Hershey Showalter grew up in a Mennonite farm family and went on to become the president of Goshen College and a foundation executive at The Fetzer Institute. She is now a writer, speaker, blogger, and consultant living in Harrisonburg, VA. She recently released her memoir, "Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World."


Comments

  1. The photographs are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    • Henry Hershey says:

      Gloria, thank you for your kind comments. Little is more rewarding than hearing “well done … “

  2. Thank you, Gloria. Glad you enjoyed. It’s been great fun to see Henry’s work continue to develop.

  3. Judy Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing the photographs. Henry is be to commended for using pictures to show the beauty of God’s world.

  4. Thanks, Judy. And Amen!

  5. The photo of the tree (“Broken”) is exquisite. It reminds me of certain people I know who have been broken in ways but who are even more beautiful as they stand in confidence and dignity.

  6. Jane, what an insightful comment. Yes, I know such people too. And so does Henry. Thanks for commenting.

    • Henry Hershey says:

      Jane, those who know me know a broken bone shaped much of my adult life. Thanks for noting one can survive being broken, grow, and stand even taller.

  7. Gorgeous photography captioned with scripture verses — a beautiful pairing!

    You asked, “What do you see in Henry’s photos?”

    A man who is living up to his creative potential.

  8. I love that description, Laurie. And I’m hoping that Henry will come join this page to make his own responses.

  9. Wonderful photographs. I can see Henry’s love of place and people in these. Seeing this world through his lens is a gift, a gift of looking at the world from a unique, fresh perspective.

    My Dad’s Argus camera, a gift from the MYF when he left for I-W service in Puerto Rico, is now sitting on my shelf. Thank you for prompting my own memories with your stories.

    And, I agree with Jane: “broken” is exquisite. It brings tears to my eyes.
    Kathleen

  10. henry Hershey says:

    Jane, thank you. Interesting the points of connection people can share, in this case Argus cameras from the past.

  11. Kathleen, you and Jon are such excellent photographers, so your praise means a lot. I’m glad that you enjoyed Henry’s offerings, especially “Broken.” When nature provides the image and the heart guides the image-maker, the results can, in fact, bring tears to the sympathetic viewer.

    I’m glad for the Argus story, too. That was a fun connection. I had the name of the camera wrong in the first draft. Henry caught it.

  12. Ah – S & H Green Stamps and the items that could be redeemed with them for a certain number of filled booklets. My sisters and I sat at our dining room table helping our mom place accumulated stamps onto the pages. Henry, I love doves, and I love your photo of the dove. The verse you chose from Psalms 55 may just grace a page in my memorial service bulletin when that time comes. Do you sell your photos? Shirley, I always felt as if I was practicing for my dream of becoming a writer when I wrote penpal letters and entered writing contests starting when I was ten.

    • I think we might have used a sponge to help us lick those stamps! I suppose they were the forerunners of the “frequent flyer” loyalty programs we have today. I too love the dove and the quote that goes with it.

      And as for your dream, Barbara, you are continuing to follow the same path laid down in youth also. I am so eager to meet you in person and hope to do so June 30!

    • Henry Hershey says:

      Barbara, I’m happy that you liked my picture and that it struck an emotional chord. I have not sold pictures in the past, (no one has asked and I take them for the joy of sharing.) That said, it is quite a compliment to receive your request. I would be happy to print a copy of the dove along with the caption from Psalms. A crisp $1 bill in return would end up framed as the first dollar I made in photography. (I wouldn’t be “Almost Amish” if I passed on the opportunity to make a buck.)

      Let me know.
      Henry

      • 🙂 You can always make me laugh, Henry. Good luck with your sale.

      • Henry, you are giving me goosebumps. I will obtain a crisp $1 bill from our bank and give it to Shirley when my husband and I see her at her book presentation at the Harrisonburg Public Library on June 30. “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest.” Psalms 55.6 KJV. As I study the young dove in your photo, I am wondering where you photographed it.

        • Henry Hershey says:

          Wonderful Barbara! My first photo sale. I will print a copy and can mail it to you if you forward your address or I can hand deliver to Shirley although I am not sure of her schedule back to Lancaster County. The dove was a visitor to our feeder this winter. I took the picture through our sunroom window on a cold winter day using a 300 mm lens to “get up close.” Thank you!
          Henry

        • Henry Hershey says:

          Barbara
          Thank you for the opportunity to share these photos. I’ve enjoyed the experience.

  13. I’ll send Henry your address, Barbara. And thanks to both of you for the fun and inspiration of sharing.

  14. Henry, I used the message function on your Henry Hershey Facebook page to ask you what your address is. I am thrilled to be a part of your “first sold piece” of artwork. You are the first artist to have sold me something for a token dollar. I am looking forward to owning a print of your young dove that visited your bird feeder this past winter.

    • Henry, your print of your dove photo arrived in pristine condition this afternoon. Thank you so much for sending it to me. I love being its proud owner. I have framed it and placed it on one of my bookshelves next to two photos of my deceased parents. A week ago I ordered for you a new one dollar bill in the Lucky Note series from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. When it arrives, I will send it to you.

  15. HHH, I found my way back here via a May 27 tweet on Shirley’s Twitter page after I could no longer find the thread on the Not Quite Amish blog. I must say you are very creative. I was thrilled to see your photo of the 777 card, dollar and portion of my mailing envelope on your thank you card.

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