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Amee Ellis

"Among the Maples: Making Syrup and Community"

Every February, Ben Hoksch of Front Yard Sugar Co. knocks on doors around Ames, Iowa asking folks if he can tap the maple trees in their front yards. In exchange, he gives them a chance to learn how to tap, a jar of syrup, and a deeper connection to the land and their community. For many Ames residents, a visit from Ben and the tapping of maples means the first sign of spring. While the sap is running, it is collected every morning and boiled down into syrup at Ben’s hand-built wood-fired cook stove in the woods. These photographs are part of an ongoing project documenting people who have a relationship with the land. My photographs explore the forms and forces of the Midwest landscape and the relationship between place and memory. My practice is centered in wandering, discovering a deeper understanding of the land and its
rhythms, and finding connection with this place I call home.

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