If you visit the Ohio History Center Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9 you will get a free poster of Joe Munroe’s famous “Kissing Pigs.”
Open Spaces, Weathered Faces, an exhibit of photographs from the Ohio Historical Society’s Joe Munroe Archives depicting agriculture and rural life in America from the 1940s through the 1970s, opens at the Ohio History Center in Columbus on September 5 and continues through November 25, 2012.
Munroe’s camera caught the last days of farmers driving teams of horses and picking cotton by hand. Technology brought dramatic changes to farm life in the United States. There were still families operating small farms with manual labor, but fewer of them. From family-operated farms in the Midwest to the vast fields of California’s Central Valley, the joys, challenges, and sheer hard work of rural life are seen in Joe’s photographs.
His career began in 1939 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He served in the Air Force during World War II and then joined Cincinnati-based Farm Quarterly Magazine. Though he was raised in Detroit, agriculture and rural life became important subjects of Joe’s photographs. He moved to California in 1955 and free-lanced, taking magazine assignments and selling his own work.
Joe Munroe deposited his archives at the Ohio Historical Society in 1997. They include more than 60,000 still images and over three hundred reels of movie film. In addition to the rural life and farming images for which he is known, Munroe photographed famous people, the built and natural environment, and international locales.
Once you have seen Open Spaces, Weathered Faces at the Ohio History Center, you can see more of Joe Munroe’s photography in Ohio Memory, our digital repository.