Bette: A Farm Life

A Farm Life: Bette from hayley bartels on Vimeo.

In the Spring of 2011, I started documenting my family's farm in Mayview, Missouri.  At the time, my grandmother, widowed 5 years earlier, was 86 years old. She had been diagnosed with cancer a year earlier but was refusing any chemotherapy or modern medical treatment, and still living on the farm by herself.  "The Farm" (as we've always called it) was bought by my grandparents over 60 years ago and they lived there their entire lives.  My grandmother, Bette, still used a 1950s Maytag washing machine and refused to use other modern appliances, like a dishwasher or cell phone. She was a force of life, yet lived the most simply out of anyone I ever met. My grandmother never saw the ocean, she never even rode in an airplane, but she was perfectly content with that. I saw in my gradparents, and especially my grandmother, a dying way of life.  I felt 'The Farm' (as we have always called it) emcompased a dissapearing attitude towards life and perspective on the world, and I wanted to capture it before it was gone. 

(My grandmother passed away the following winter after this project was produced.  She never did submit to any chemo treatment because, as she put it, if it was her time then it was her time. And true to her character, she stayed on The Farm up until the very end.)