When photographer Kelly Fletcher set out to capture images in and around Brattleboro, Vt., to help promote Brattleboro Savings & Loan’s new Local Rewards checking account, she expected beautiful New England vistas and great personal moments of people enjoying their community.
Indeed, the project brought her to various locations in Brattleboro, from eateries to retail establishments to rooftops, where she captured scenic panoramas. But Fletcher’s favorite stop was Miller Farm, an organic milk farm in Vernon, Vt., with 160 cows-in-residence owned and operated by Pete and Angela Miller, Art and Judy Miller, and Keith and Tina Franklin and their families.
“The day I did the photo shoot was beautiful with great light,” said Fletcher. “I wanted to stay there all day, and in fact I didn’t feel as though I was on a time schedule when I was there. The owners were amazing and patient, and took so much time to talk with me about the project.”
They also introduced her to a kind, four-hooved soul: Whirl, a five-year-old Holstein dairy cow soon to bear a calf, who took a few moments from her busy day at Miller Farm to pose for Fletcher and the farm’s staff. Armed with a wreath and a sprinkle of faux snow in addition to her camera equipment, the team staged the shot with a board in front of Whirl to keep her in one spot without attaching a halter, and provided grain whenever the star seemed peckish.
“She took a little while to get interested, but once she was, Whirl walked right into place. Her ears came forward and she looked into the camera… it unfolded the way it should, and happened organically.”
The result was imagery now appearing in a suite of holiday-themed advertisements for BSL’s Local Rewards program, which awards a total of $250 worth of gift cards or certificates purchased from featured local businesses each month to Local Rewards checking account holders who meet the necessary requirements.
The bovine affectionately known as ‘Whirl Girl’ can be found in print and online and on various social media networks, where she’s gaining fans interested in her modeling skills as well as her impending delivery; her calf is due on Christmas Eve.
“I’m really happy for Miller Farm and that it’s being showcased in this way,” said Fletcher. “There are a lot of farms here in the area, and originally all we wanted was a picture of a dairy cow. What we got was a lot of insight into what goes into farming, and photos that show Brattleboro’s real, down-to-earth side.”
~ Jaclyn Stevenson