Margaret Lampert’s recent personal project is inspired by her childhood on a dairy farm just north of Boston. This past year, she started exploring her dairy farm roots, traveling to several farms in Vermont and upstate New York.
“I’ve always had an affinity for dairy cows, having grown up around them. My father was a gentleman farmer and we had a very serious herd of Ayrshire cattle. We had two world record producing Ayrshires. Rumor has it he had to have 400 head of cattle because his parents wouldn’t let him have a pet as a child,” Margaret laughs.
Recently, she was up in Vermont at The Putney School to photograph Avery MacLean, daughter of aerial landscape photographer Alex MacLean. MacLean’s work is in part a commentary on our environment and the way we use our resources, and he and his wife Kate raised their family in a way that reflects that philosophy. Avery grew up around animals—they always had chickens and goats—which in part led her to The Putney School, a progressive high school focused on sustainability, situated on a 500-acre dairy farm. Avery was spending the summer before her senior year caring for the animals.
“Since I was a child, agriculture has always played a role in my life. In the summers we grew as much as we could, and visited local farms to purchase what we couldn’t,” said Avery. “After completing my junior year at The Putney School, milking cows before class, I was hired to stay for the summer—to milk our 40 cows twice a day and work in the gardens.”
On a late-summer evening, Margaret arrived at The Putney School to photograph Avery and the dairy cows.
“A lot of people wouldn’t just walk out into a field full of cows, but it just feels like home to me. It was the perfect evening; the cows and the light were beautiful. I don’t get to be around those animals much any more so this was sort of a special homecoming for me,” said Margaret. “Avery is a wonderful subject because she’s very relaxed and sure of herself. Sharing the experience of being there amongst the cows with Avery brought back a piece of my childhood.”
Margaret hopes to go back this fall to shoot more with Avery. We’ll be looking forward to seeing those images!