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  • Amish Ice Harvest

    I recently had the great pleasure of photographing the unique tradition of an Amish ice harvest. Each winter, hundreds of 80-pound ice blocks are cut from frozen waterways, and then transferred and stored in nearby families' ice houses for use throughout the year. It's a laborious effort, involving many hands, horses and trailers. But because Amish homes are electricity-free, the practice is an important part of the workers' lives. It's also a good chance for participants, young and old, to reinforce the group's sense of community, an enduring component of the Amish way of life.

    I've photographed some members of this community a few times previously. Like most Amish, they are generally camera-shy, but I've been lucky to establish a small rapport with a few members of the group. In the past, I've shared with them reprints of the photographs I've captured, which seem to be appreciated and enjoyed. Because the ice harvest is such an important and unique element of the Amish heritage, I think this visit may have offered me a little greater access than I might normally expect as well.

    A gallery of images from the visit has been added to this website, and here is the fine story by Barry Adams that accompanied them in the Wisconsin State Journal.