The Unchosen Ones: RJ Kern

The Unchosen Ones: Portraits of an American Pastoral, is an interdisciplinary installation of documentary photography showcasing relationships between agricultural youth and animals in the Midwest US. “The Unchosen Ones” project received international recognition, which reflects a universal appeal. The work debuted as a feature in National Geographic magazine (November 2017) and has been exhibited as solo exhibitions in the Plains Art Museum and the Griffin Museum of Photography.
The Unchosen Ones depicts the bloom of youth and the mettle of the kids who grow up on farms, reminding us how resilient children can be when confronted with life’s inevitable disappointments. The formal quality of the lighting and setting endow these young people with a gravitas beyond their years, revealing self-direction dedication in some, and in others, perhaps, the pressures of traditions imposed upon them. The portraits capture a particular America, a rural world, and a time in life when the layered emotions of youth are laid bare.