one of the great finds from last month's trip to the black mountain college collection in asheville, north carolina, was a series of photographs of ray trayer, the farmer at BMC from 1946 to 1951. this was a big deal. for over two years, i could not find a single photo of ray trayer on the farm.
trayer was a quaker, a pacifist, and a conscientious objector during world war two. in september 1946, he arrived to black mountain college where he joined friend and fellow quaker, clifford "cliff" moles, to run the farm. using methods of organic gardening and farming, trayer and moles focused on improving the soil and, in the process, greatly increased the farm's efficiency and productivity.
due to trayer's abrasive personality, moles left the college in 1948, the same year trayer developed a course called "soil and steel" which explored common difficulties facing US farmers and factory workers. finally, after a fifteen year search, BMC had a farmer who could both farm and teach.
felix krowinski was a student (and avid photographer) at black mountain college from 1947 to 1948 (and perhaps through 1949). his collection of photographs -- the "felix krowinski, sr. collection" in the "project papers" within the black mountain college collection -- includes dozens of photographs of everyday life at the college. the collection also includes a wonderful series of photographs of ray trayer working with student bernard carp.
using a basic animated gif tool called make a gif, i strung the images together creating, i believe, the first brief video - or mini-movie! - of everyday life at black mountain college.