Peter Wiklund head

Nancy Rexroth’s book IOWA was published In the 1970’s. Inspired, I wanted a Diana camera, but I was unable to find one until 1984 (for $1 at a yard sale). My collection has now grown to 154 Dianas and clones.

In 1993 I photographed a group of scarecrows that appeared to be advancing toward an isolated house in the Czech countryside. This was the beginning of my fascination with ‘strasiak’ (Czech for scarecrows). Over a decade of hunting strasiak I noticed that they disappeared or became simple stick and plastic constructions. I was photographing things that existed, but I wanted to express the idea of how transitory and fragile their existence was becoming. Using the Diana with its soft focus and vignetting was effective in its ability to render something real into a memory or ‘other’reality.

Like the Zen hermit, scarecrows stand alone in nature observing and contemplating the cycle of life from bloom to wither. In wabi-sabi fashion their clothes rot, their stuffed heads fall apart, but they become more interesting through their transformation. By fall harvest they are spent and ruined by the elements.

A.E. Fournet