Iris of Roberts Ranch

Copy of Blog - Photo - Iris of Roberts Ranch - Apr 2017

There was an older photo or two of the iris plants, planted by my mother. I had done several shots of them in black and white with a 35mm Argus. Most people will not know or care that I shot those with Tri-X and Plus-X and experimented with using several different Wratten color filters. The plants were in an isolated corner of the fence on the west side of the house, near a strip of half dry Bermuda lawn. There was a bit of barbed wire on one side and white boards on the other side, of the clump of four or five bulbs in flower. My guess is that it was around 1962 that I made that study.

We had moved there in 1959, to the 1880s era farm house of the grain ranch. I left for college in September 1964 and never moved back. The folks were there until 1972. The address was then 24245 Raymond Road, and the property has a great Madera County history and is now in ruin. It was quite an operation with large chicken coops and a new feed barn on the north edge of the ranch group, a granary barn, a bunkhouse, blacksmith shop. A dairy and stock barn was on the east edge of the place, which barn was “the shop” when we were there. That’s where I began welding and doing metal sculpture. I witnessed that barn burning down at the end of harvest in August 1964. Mom liked violets, and is perhaps why she liked iris. I never discussed that with her, but perhaps it was because of the pre-World War II Madera High School colors of being Purple & White. So, here it is Easter and iris seems right. Iris always reminds me of The Roberts Ranch.


Timothy J. Desmond
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