By Mike Lander on
I cannot think of a scenario in which a farm auction held in any time period is a joyful experience for the owner of the farm. Whether caused by environmental or financial circumstances or even death of the farmer the auction represents the end of an era for that individual farm. Those who attend the auction may find some real bargains, but there is a great sadness attached to these events. An estate sale is similar in that a person’s life can be seen by the material items left behind. What was important to this individual is on display. But in the case of a farm auction the sheer magnitude of the farm and farm implements, buildings and the people attending make for dramatic photojournalism.
The auction in this essay occurred in Iowa in the summer of 1958. An overcast day makes the event even more dramatic. The lead photo shows the auctioneer and the bidding in progress. Other images show the extent of the attendance by the number of cars and trucks parked lining the road to the auction site as well as the inspection of various farm implements by potential buyers.