Fair Photography

As a born and bred Midwesterner, I love documenting fairs and festivals. I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana attending the 3 Rivers Festival.  Each year, my family would travel to my father’s boyhood home in Wayne County, Ohio to attend the fair.  The animals, funnel cakes, disorienting carnival rides and tractor pulls were rites I looked forward to each year.

Now that I have a family of my own, I really enjoy experiencing the simple old-fashioned fun that a fair offers to my young children. Petting cows, feeding goats, consuming ridiculous fried food and lemon shake-ups, and of course those exact same (literally) carnival rides all feel like a step back in time to my own childhood.

I took the Ferris wheel image above at the Italian Street Festival in Indianapolis in 2010 and that inspired me to begin traveling to document events across the state.  Since 2010, I’ve photographed a couple dozen festivals and fairs which I’ve compiled into my Indiana Fair Project.

County fairs and town festivals are often long-held events where communities gather to celebrate what makes them distinct.  By visiting all corners of the state to photograph these annual happenings, I’m seeking to document how the traditions of these events connect Hoosiers to their past and to each other.

The Indiana State Fair is happening now, so keep an eye on Instagram for new images.  Plus, I’ll be posting old favorites from the Indiana Fair Project. If Twitter is your preference, follow @zachdobson for some highlights of fairs and other interesting stuff.

Thanks for reading my blog  and be sure to share this post with someone you know who loves the fair. Who doesn’t love the fair?!  My wife assures me no one!

Happy Sow. Indiana State Fair. 2016
Showmanship. Indiana State Fair. 2016
The Annual Balloon Glow. Elkhart County Fair. 2012.
Fried Foods. Indiana State Fair. 2010.
Goat Bath. Hamilton County Fair. 2010.
Hot August Day. Indiana State Fair. 2010.
Hog Wrestling. Delaware County Fair. 2010.
Cowboys. Portage County Fair. 2010.
Rodeo. Portage County Fair. 2010.
Showtime. Elkhart County Fair. 2010.
Beauty Pageant. Fulton County Fair. 2010.
Demolition Derby. Gibson County Fair. 2010.
Warming Up. Indiana State Fair. 2011.
Funnel Cake Down. CarmelFest. 2013.
Tilt-a-Whirl. Bremen Fireman’s Festival. 2010.

Author: Zach Dobson

Zach Dobson is a documentary and commercial photographer based in Indianapolis. He holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University with a concentration in photography. Since starting his business in 2006, Zach has focused on documenting people’s lives and businesses in action. Zach’s client list includes the Indiana Pacers, Coca-Cola, the AARP, ZipCar, Indiana University, Visit Bloomington, Hamilton County Tourism, Land O’Lakes, RIOT LA Comedy Festival, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana High School Athletic Association. Zach is a Professional Member of the American Society of Media Photographers [ASMP]. He resides in Carmel, Ind. with his wife and business partner, Courtney, and their five children.

1 thought on “Fair Photography

  1. Larry says:

    Love this post! County fairs take me back 60 years to my childhood and of course all the family years thereafter.


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