Surrounded by nattily attired, four-legged animals, Debra Fisher Goldstein is in her element.
The St. Louis Park resident is at a llama and alpaca costume contest at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair, and she is working the room, or rather, the barn, chatting with participants and looking for unique moments.
A half-hour earlier, Fisher Goldstein is in perhaps her favorite place in the world—the fair’s cattle barn. There, she’s looking for interesting shapes and patterns, and studying how the light coming in from the rafters reflects off the cows.
This is a snapshot of the life of a dedicated state fair photographer who has been fine-tuning her craft for more than 10 years.
“I’d like to say I focus on those shared moments that bring us all together,” Fisher Goldstein said.
Fisher Goldstein is back at the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, and she plans on going every day. She doesn't work for the fair, but rather takes the shots for her website, BeyondTheStick.com. Visitors can see her favorite photos from over the years—and order them as prints, mugs, T-shirts and more.
The Park resident has received more and more attention over the years for her work. In the past year, her photos have been published in Patch, The Utne Reader and Access Minnesota. She also appeared on KARE 11 during last year's fair.
This summer, the Ramsey County Library system, with funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, hosted an exhibit of Fisher Goldstein's fair photos called "Beyond The Stick: the Iconic, the Ironic, the Peculiar, and the Poignant — Images From The Minnesota State Fair."
So why does Fisher Goldstein keep getting drawn back to the fair, year after year?
"I love people. I love people's passions. I love what brings us together," she said. "When I see it, capture it, share it, I feel it lifts us all up, and connects us with our humanness."
You can see some of Fisher Goldstein's newest fair photos above. You can read more about her in this .