From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Up the hill they came… powerful, beautiful beasts… whipping their tails in the dusty sunlight, as the farmer struggled to keep the plow in the furrow.
We came upon this scene while driving along a crowded highway through the rolling, fertile farmlands of Pennsylvania. Due to the heavy traffic, it was a good part of a mile before the car was brought to a stop. But the picture was tood good to be missed and the inconvenience of having to go back on foot did nto bother me. I was enthused.
But the farmer, his horses and plow were no where in sight. Quite a distance away, however, behind rows of massive cornstalks I saw dust rising and I knew they were on their way home. So off again I went over the freshly plowed soil until I overtook the farmer.
“Hello, farmer, nice day. No more plowing?”
“No Sir, all finished. Been at it for ten hours in this hot sun, and my Brownies are tired, too.”
“That’s too bad, for I wanted to take your picture.”
“No Sir, no picture taking for me!” (I had to change my tactics.)
“But that wonderful team of horses you have. What a picture!” The farmer beamed at my praise.
“Them’s the finest pair in the county. Proud of them? Yes Sir! You bet!”
“Well, farmer, I could take a find picture of them. A picture you would like to have to show your folks and friends. Would you plow just one more furrow for me.”
“Well, Sir, guess I might. Them horses would make a great picture, wouldn’t they? Let’s go!”
My companion in the meantime had caught up with me and off we started. What a race it was! The farmer plowed… I rushed ahead of him… falling flat to the ground to make the exposure… getting up, rushing ahead again, over and over with my friend trying to keep up with my mad pace to shield off the sun. And so we went… twenty times or more… up and down the hill. What a mess we were from the dust and dirt. But still I didn’t stop. For I wanted the picture I had seen from the roadway. So out in the road we went, after posing the farmer and his team on the embankment. Waiting for a lull in traffic, with my friend on guard over me, I lay flat on the road.
“Get along, farmer”, I said. And off he started. But the plow struck a rock causing a terrible delay, and the traffic on the road started again. It was too late to recall the farmer… I had to make the best of it. With horns tooting… cars stopped and people shouting all about us… “Man on the road… accident… help… hurry up!” I took the two pictures. “Onward” was taken as the farmer and his team came toward me and “The Last Furrow” as they continued on into the distance.
Data: See under “The Last Furrow” [PG*4116.16]"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 8 1/8 in x 10 3/8 in; 20.6375 cm x 26.3525 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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