Photographing The Funnier Side Of Agriculture Culture : The Picture Show Arnhel de Serra's view of England's agriculture culture is good for a chuckle.
NPR logo Photographing The Funnier Side Of Agriculture Culture

Photographing The Funnier Side Of Agriculture Culture

It's state fair season in America. And across the Atlantic, this has traditionally been the time for England's Royal Show, too. Beginning in 1839, it was the country's main agricultural summit, but last year's 160th anniversary marked its final occurrence.

Photographer Arnhel de Serra argues that despite The Royal's demise, agricultural shows are still alive and well. His series, When The Sun Sets Over The Royal, draws from years of photographing them. "Town meets country," he wrote, "has been the inspiration for the project." The shows began as forums for farmers to share tricks of the trade, but they are now flooded with urban dwellers looking for a weekend escape. "It is the rural equivalent of ... beach culture," he writes.

With an eye for the odd, De Serra makes potentially ordinary scenes memorable. Humor, as he says, is at the core of his photos — Erwittian phototoons, you might call them — in part because attendees "understand that working with animals requires a sense of humour." And although the beach still seems more relaxing than a livestock competition, if you're in England and in need of a laugh, one of these shows might be your remedy.

See more of de Serra's work.