Being a city boy myself I have spent many vacations on a farm when I was a kid. Young and innocent as I was at that time, I was amazed by the large fields, the stables and barns, the trackers and tools, bewildered by the enormous amount of space surrounding the farmhouses and intrigued by the solitude one could find there. I spent many afternoons with my friends, finding seemingly deserted places. A shelter no longer in use. The top of a hay pile. The middle of a cornfield. It was in these hiding places where we would create adventures and loose ourselves in make believe child games. Little did I know of the excitement these concealed places could bring for farm hands a bit older then me.
With farms making up almost 92% of Iowa’s land, Jay Diers is not entirely unknown with the way Midwest raised boys are living their lives. Jay was born and raised in Iowa himself and probably his upbringing is the reason why he masters in capturing those innocent yet seductive and naughty farm boys. With his camera that is of course, as Jay Diers is a renowned photographer with not only many individual series but also several photo books in his pocket to proof it.
With his new project, Farmboy Diaries, Jay Diers brings us along on a journey to those widespread farmsteads. Treating us on silent adventures under the summer sun and in the heat from a cornfield in the middle of the countryside where the boys work hard and play harder. Seen by Jay Diers in that unmistakable moody and nostalgic style that is so characteristic for Jay’s work. And seeing these young men, so natural and so comfortable with themselves one cannot stop wondering what would happen if you had the possibility to just step into that photographic scene and be with them. Either visible or hidden in a near by barn or the high grass on a farm field.
The Farmboys Diaries will be an ongoing collection of photographs. Jay Diers promises the work will be erotic, certainly, but adds to that that he can also see them on a coffee table rather than hidden in a drawer. Looking at them we cannot help but first think of the raw, confessional portraits of Nan Goldin, or even Larry Clark, whose work Jay obviously admires. These photographs will be shot using natural light to flash photograph. A guy sitting on an old tracker in his underwear and nothing more than a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. In another blurred, black and white shot the model smokes, with a stereotypical outfit on, scratching his head absent minded, looking as if he has genuinely forgotten that Jay’s lens is there. Tellingly, it is often these least overtly explicit images that work best.
Jay Diers’ Farmboy Diaries is an ode to those many young men who were born and raised among the fields, who live their lives on ranges and farms, surrounded by nature. Those men that seem so innocent yet are so erotic and sexual. Those dudes that at nights hang out with their local palls, drinking beers in local bars, listening to local music. Those guys that spend their days working in the field, under the summer sun, bare chested while sweat drips down their well developed abs. They have their secret stories, and they tell them to you. –BM-
JAY DIERS | BEAUTIFULMAG