"Dirt is My Favorite Color": The Photography of Paul Calhoun

Mar 6, 2014

Paul Calhoun was inspired by the shirt worn by the boy on the left.
Credit Paul Calhoun

Photographer Paul Calhoun has traveled the world with his camera.

From documenting life in the Republic of Georgia to Midwestern War Veterans to Migrant Farm Workers in Wisconsin, Calhoun’s photographs are both beautiful, sometimes disturbing, but always deeply touching.

His newest exhibition, “Dirt is My Favorite Color,” opens this Friday at Gallery 2622 in Wauwatosa and it’s a retrospective that showcases seven years of his work. His pictures captures the lives of people who work hard for what they have, which is often times not very much.

Women in the Republic of Georgia.
Credit Paul Calhoun

The exhibit’s title was inspired by a t-shirt worn by a three-year old migrant worker in Wisconsin. Although the child does not work all the time, he often pitches in to help pick the fields.

“The more you pick, the more money you make,” Calhoun says. “So sometimes there are families of six or eight people working together in order to survive. And then once they are finished, they may move to another state to work together.”

Described by Calhoun as a “magical moment,” he saw the boy playing in the dirt with his brother and sister on his first day photographing. The children were covered head to toe in dirt, but the three-year old’s shirt stood out: “Dirt is My Favorite Color.”

Milwaukee-based photographer Paul Calhoun’s newest exhibition, "Dirt is My Favorite Color," opens this Friday at Gallery 2622 in Wauwatosa.