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Know the West

Photojournalist Lisa Hamilton explores rural California

For her project, Real Rural, photojournalist Lisa Hamilton traveled throughout California, interviewing and photographing scores of rural people.


City-living Californians know little of their rural neighbors, photojournalist Lisa Hamilton says. And too often, their perceptions are colored by disagreements over resource use. "I wanted to offer another language, beyond politics, to connect us -- through story-telling." For her project, Real Rural, launched Jan. 31 and funded in part by frequent HCN collaborator the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Hamilton traveled nearly 10,000 miles into the remote corners of the state, interviewing and photographing scores of people. She found soulful back-to-the-landers in Modoc County committed to wildlife rehabilitation; small boys from Riverside County hell-bent on becoming world champion boxers; intellectually gifted Humboldt County dairy farmers who yearn for interactions beyond the family farm; and little girls from Sonoma County who have so bonded with their show chickens that their displays of them before a judge resemble a paired-figure skating competition. See more at RealRural.org.