FF resident remembred for unique photography [UPDATED]Published 11:27am Monday, January 28, 2013 Updated 11:34am Monday, January 28, 2013
David Lill, the quirky bachelor farmer who gained local artistic notoriety for photographing cows in hats, died Thursday at Lake Region Hospital in Fergus Falls. He was 59 years old.
Hans Ronnevik was Lill’s neighbor and friend since he was about 5 years old.
“David was cheerful, always upbeat, even though he didn’t have the easiest of life,” said Ronnevik. “What stands out is his love of his brown Swiss cattle. He showed them at the county fair as a 4-H’er — even up to last year he showed several of the cattle at the state fair.”
Ronnevik says the cows served to inspire Lill’s photography, as well as area landscapes and flowers. He took several trips to Itasca State Park to photograph the Lady Slipper, Minnesota’s state flower.
“David Lill skillfully captured the beauty of Otter Tail County in his photographs,” said Maxine Adams, Executive Director, of Lake Region Arts Council. “We were fortunate that he also shared his sense of
humor in his signature photos of his cows.”
One day on his farm outside of Fergus Falls, he put a hat on one of his cows and took her picture. Lill described his work on his blog: “I have a very personal connection to my cows since I am a dairy farmer
and an artist. I know how to capture their personal side in my photography whether it’s dressing them up with hats or just a plain natural setting.”
Lill showed his work at three to four craft shows a year as well as caring for up to 60 cows on his farm. His photos have appeared on calendars, notecards and magnets. In 2001, he authored the book “Cows Like You’ve Never Seen,” which sold 15,000 copies. David Lill sold much of his work in the Ben Franklin Store in Fergus Falls. There has been an increase in sales of his work in the since word of his passing on Thursday, including one sale of over $400, according to store owner Kevin Peterson.
“David was always eager to share his love of photography and taught many classes throughout the years,” said Adams. “The arts community will miss him. He was a kind, gentle person and a favorite visitor to our offices.”