Thoughts on “Nebraska” From A Nebraska Photographer


On Sunday night I found myself watching the Golden Globes. Normally, this wouldn’t be something I would be watching, but I didn’t object too much when my wife turned it on. Well, not too much.

I did have some interest as the movie “Nebraska” even though I haven’t had an opportunity to see it as it was nominated for 5 different awards. In the past Alexander Payne has always done a good job of delving into human relationships in his movies, and it’s also nice that much of his work is situated in Nebraska. In a New York Times article Will Forte describes the change of scenery and his thoughts on the landscape as he and Bruce Dern make their way from Montana to Nebraska.

“It’s certainly a lot of corn, Nebraska, but I found it really beautiful. I thought it was going to be this real monotonous visual experience, and it wasn’t. There was a lot of texture to it. It kept reminding me of a van Gogh painting — these big beautiful circular corn husk bales, the way the light would hit them and the shadows they’d cast. Brilliant hues of yellow — it was really striking.”

While Will Forte admits there is much more to Nebraska’s scenery than corn, he definitely hit on something when describing the landscape. It’s refreshing to hear Hollywood stars discuss about the beauty that can be found in Nebraska. As a lifelong resident of “Flyover Country” which I’ve been dedicated to capturing photographically, I am always happy when these areas receive positive press. My parents who were both teachers, had always placed a great importance on traveling and learning about the state in which you live. This was especially true with my father. Growing up I traveled with him across the state to Scottsbluff, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, and probably a bunch of other towns I’m not remembering. Along the way we would stop at historical landmarks, state parks, buildings, really anything that might hold some interesting tidbit of knowledge. I think it was through them that I really gained an appreciation for the state, the people, it’s history, and it’s landscapes. I hope that others might see glimpses of this as well in Alexander Payne’s new movie.

I am looking forward to seeing “Nebraska” and besides enjoying the story, maybe in the movie I’ll find a new place in Nebraska to visit myself.

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