1993 — student award of excellence
A native of Sweden, Torsten Kjellstrand works as a freelance photographer and film maker in New York City and Portland, Oregon. Soon after getting his Masters Degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia, a portfolio of Torsten’s work earned him the Newspaper Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer Association/Pictures of the Year International contest in 1996. He worked at The Herald, a small, sophisticated newspaper in Jasper, Indiana. Torsten has since won many national and international awards while working for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington and The Oregonian, in Portland, Oregon. He has taught and presented work all over this country and the world. He was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University in 2003-4. Before his work as a photographer, Torsten cut his narrative teeth as an English major at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, followed by a Fulbright Scholarship to study comparative literature at Uppsala University in Sweden. Most of all, Torsten is husband to Jean and father to Björn and Maria and human friend to Solo the dog. Torsten is smarter than Solo.
Eddie Linzie is a rarity: a black rural landowner increasing the size of his 40-acre operation. He grew up in the city of Columbia, Missouri, dreaming of being a cowboy. By the time he takes early retirement from his city job this September, he’ll be ranching full-time, just as his dream dictates.
Henry Logan in nearby Fulton, Missouri has 125 acres of land passed down through his family from an ex-slave who came to homestead in the late 1860’s. Now, Mr. Logan’s children see their father run a construction company, then come home to work another shift on the farm. They know there are easier ways to make a living.
These two families share problems with all small farmers, but are also threatened by racism, both historical and current, because both are black farmers.
I hope to show with my documentary project the diverse humans behind the label “black farmer,” to help people understand what might be lost if predictions of the demise of black farming by the end of the century come true. I’ve started working to understand communities of black farmers in mid-Missouri already. In Fayette, a community of black farmers live and work together, finding financing in their own community when white-owned banks turn them down. And in the ”Boot-heel” of Missouri, descendants of migrants from Mississippi during the “Share-croppers Revolt” in the 1930s still farm and maintain a culture revolving around the land. Their stories need to be told, before they are only memories.