Kemper's Farm Session

My first preservation session was with a friend/client that I have had the joy of watching through my camera lens for years now. I have photographed the events from Jade's engagement all the way to the birth of her son, Kemp last year. It's been a pleasure watching her family grow and when I'm with the Kempers/Sadlers, I always feel like family too.

Jade contacted me after her dad had some health issues that have caused him to lose movement of his left arm and other nerve issues in other parts of his body. Unfortunately, doctors do not know what's causing the problem, which means they are unable to treat his condition without knowing the source of the issue. Kemper is the kind of man that doesn't just stop because he's in pain. He doesn't give up when he feels bad, and the farm work doesn't stop just because his arm no longer works like it used to. Jade wanted me to capture quality time with her parents, husband and brother- as well as passing the love and traditions on to her one year old son, Kemp.

The day started with breaking beans. We sat outside in the shade, while every member of the family pitched in to help get the job done.

Kemp Ryne Sadler toyed with the beans while Jade attempted to keep him from spilling them into the grass. :)

Kemp is going to grow up knowing the traditions that were passed down from generation to generation.

Upon meeting Kemper, you'll see his serious look, his weathered face and tough hands. When you get him talking about his children or grandchildren, a smile will creep across his face that he isn't able to hide.  His serious side fades away when he's roughhousing with Kemp, loving on his kids, or talking about his wife Beany.
"He is the hardest working, most honest man I know." -Jade

When I met Jade, I instantly liked her. She's a down home farm girl, and there aren't many of those left these days! I believe someone's personality says a lot about the way they were raised, and Jade's sincerity speaks volumes.
Jade and her husband Boomer just built a house on their family farm. They plan to carry on the traditions of farming, raising a garden, and canning.

After the beans are picked, the canning process starts. Jade fixed me a ham sandwich and sweet tea while her mother, Beany, told me about how she learned to can. Every canner has different rituals and superstitions, but the process is basically the same. Beany uses a special spoon that "Mamaw always said it has to be that kind. Oh, and you must wipe the top of the jars to make sure there isn't one speck of salt on top- it'll prevent it from sealing."

I enjoyed listening to Kemper tell stories about his family and how he and Beany met. They've been together for 40 years, have two beautiful children and one grandchild. They've weathered storms together, and seen the good and bad in each other I'm sure. They've stuck together no matter what life has thrown at them, and they're still leaning on each other today. 

"I got my first kiss from Kemper on December 23, 1976. Technically we couldn't date until I was 16 (I was 14 at the time) so we spent a lot of time doing things with the whole family... when we went out Aunt Rose or Uncle Martin chaperoned us." -Beany

After the canning process was started, we took a ride in the truck to the other side of the farm to feed the corn stalks to the cattle. Kemper drove us in the old pick up, and Jade rode in the middle seat as she's done a thousand times before.

Jade listens as Kemper talks about their 75 acre farm and its history. He's lived here since he was 6, and isn't going anywhere.

When we get to the farm, they unload the truck for the cows. One person drives forward, while the other two pull the stalks off the back. 

Kemper gave me a run down of the cows- this one is named Roberta, and she's the last of "Papaw's herd." Kemper bought her just before his dad passed away. (She gets her name from him- his name was Robert.) She's figured to be somewhere between 15 and 18 years old!

With Kemper's new condition, he's has no function in his left arm or either of his thumbs. He is able to hold his grandson and namesake, Kemp as long as he holds his left arm with his right.
"This summer has made us all recognize and cherish the time on the farm with him." -Jade

The crew stands around, discussing the cattle, their ailments, and the status of the fields. A Mammoth Cave twist sticks out of Kemper's back pocket, the mark of a true farmer.

Later, inside the house, Beany and Boomer finish the canning, packing the beans into quart jars.

All of these things took place in this house in Upton, KY where Kemper has lived since he was 6.

"The garden has been there since 1964. When they moved into the house, my Papaw hauled in dirt so they could have a garden. The dirt came from the Parker Farm, which was in the family for generations. Since that time, it has been tilled and planted every year." -Jade

"God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt."
"That was something I heard often from my parents. Throughout my childhood, the memories that stand out the most in my mind are the times that were spent with my family on the farm and in the garden." -Jade

Once the work is finished, there is plenty of "front porch sittin'."

Thank you so much, Kemper family, for allowing me to peer into your everyday lives. I'm always honored when people share a piece of themselves with me, and it's a joy to photograph memories with my camera. These are photos I hope you cherish forever. Jade and Will I hope you look at them years from now and have sweet, sweet memories of working on the farm with your mother and father. Now is the time to capture everyday beauty and preserve these memories.

If you are interested in booking a preservation session, the details are here.

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