Can a man’s love of corn become something greater? Can he find success and happiness in the obscure world of cornography?
Story City, Iowa – Some people are passionate about cars. Others are audiophiles. People collect telephones, vacuum cleaners, and barbie dolls. Others create junk art out of scrap metal from local salvage yards. Hobbies are varied and strange, but very few get quite as odd as the one chosen by Elmer Hatfield: Cornography.
That one word sums it all up for Hatfield. Where others compile scrapbooks full of rare stamps or garages packed with hood ornaments, Elmer Hatfield takes photographs of corn.
“I’ve been taking these snapshots since I was knee high to a cornstalk,” he claims. “Truth is, I love corn.”
But Elmer’s love of corn hasn’t always been easy. As a child, he once took a bushel of farm-grown Iowa sweet corn to school for show and tell. For weeks afterward, other kids teased and bullied him, calling him names like “Cornholio” and “Corn Nut”. Even his parents thought his affection for the golden veggie overly strange, going so far as to suggest he seek professional help. When the world seemed as though it might close around him, Hatfield did the only thing he could: He hid his love of corn.
Once something he longed to share with others, corn became a private obsession. He still took pictures, but only out on country roads when he was alone, or in the privacy of his back yard. He often remained awake until the wee hours of the night pouring over the images he had captured, marveling at their beauty.
“There’s an inherent sexiness to corn,” Hatfield says. “The curves, the lines, how you have to gently remove its silky clothing in order to expose it to the world.”
Elmer remained in the closet for over a decade, and only a select few knew about his addiction. Among these was his therapist, Dr. Julie Ann Shelton.
“He was embarrassed by this preoccupation with corn,” Dr. Shelton explains. “He would bring in his iPad full of images and sit there almost in tears as he showed them to me. But there was nothing to be embarrassed about.”
It took nearly two years of weekly sessions before the doctor convinced Elmer Hatfield there was no shame in his peculiar fascination. For some time, he felt as though coming out of the closet might cause problems at work or with his family. Slowly but surely, however, he began to view his affection for corn as a more positive aspect of his life.
“There was nothing sexual in his corn fetish, just the passionate love of a vegetable.” she says. “And there’s nothing wrong with love.”
With Dr. Shelton’s encouragement, Elmer came out of his shell. He told his wife and children – all of whom already knew, despite his attempts to hide his infatuation – and then his parents. Then, supported by a loving family, he made the announcement to the entire town of Story City by opening up The Corn Hole, Iowa’s first cornography studio. He hopes to show his neighbors – and then eventually the world – just how incredible corn art can be. He’s even considering a website for his cornographic images.
So what does the future hold for Elmer Hatfield?
“Corn, of course” he says. “And maybe I’ll branch out a bit. I do love me some popcorn.”