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The Road I Grew Up On
a documentary project by Helen D. Gunderson

January 24, 2009

In 1989, while living in California, I began a series of photo forays back to my home state of Iowa. My quest was a general one, but by about 1991, I focused on a project called "The Road I Grew Up On." The project included photo exhibits, a book that is complete except for writing the last chapter, and the opening 12 minutes of a video that I had hoped would one day be a feature-length show.



My energies for the project have waned, partially because it was hard to pick one major theme, explore it, and draw closure to either the book or video. But my energies have also waned because I moved to a home in Ames with a huge lot, great topsoil, and open-ness to sunlight. Now my focus is that of being an urban farmer, an advocate for sustainable agriculture and locally-grown food, and a student of whole grain bread-making.

I still want to share my creative photo, video, and written work. There might be wisdom to wait until the projects are done. But time is passing by. The prime audience is getting older. Fortunately, the Internet makes distribution affordable and effective in ways that most people would never have dreamt of in the mid-1900s when I was growing up in rural Iowa.

So without further adieu, and in the spirit of sharing my creative endeavors in hopes that it may encourage others in their quests, I will post the 12-minute video and the first several chapters of the book with more to come later. And perhaps some day, I will make more progress on my projects. 

The video is in Windows Media Video format (wmv) and the chapters are in PDF files prepared for screen resolution. The text of the latter will print very well. The photos will appear well on screen but be somewhat fuzzy when printed.

Thanks for your interest in my work.

Helen D. Gunderson
Ames, Iowa

PS. My collection of documentary materials is part of the Special Collections Department at the Iowa State University Parks Library. The public may visit the department and view the materials but must receive my written permission in order to use them.

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