Purity of Intention   10 comments

Purity of Intention


Across rural North Carolina, old abandoned buildings are either being taken down, or are in an advanced state of decay. Whether they’re removed to make way for one of the new “house farms” that spring up in open fields, or are simply left to melt into the landscape, these testaments to a former, quieter time are becoming much harder to find.

Let me correct that: There are still a number of them out there, but they’re often inaccessible due to being on private property, or sitting in the middle of a vast field with no roads leading up to them.

This one is an exception.

Recently, my friend Jeff Garvey (‘Recycling is for the Birds’ on Facebook) gained unfettered access to this old farmhouse. You may remember my mentioning Jeff, a good man who finds these buildings and with the owner’s permission, dismantles them carefully. He totes the wood and bling back to his workshop where he makes incredible birdhouses using the old materials. Every Saturday morning you can find him at the local farmer’s market with a full display of unique creations. Some of them are truly functional art; others will never see the outdoors because they’re simply too beautiful to give to the birds. (You’ll see one of his better ones soon.)

I spent about four hours alone in and around this beautiful old house. One has to move very carefully… at one point on an upper floor I almost dropped through to the bottom floor. Free access allowed me to spend the necessary time to view, set up, and really soak in what this place is about. From this outside view, we’ll go inside for a few images.

In talking with Jeff about my experience there, I could see the concern on his face as I told him of possible damage done by vandals and pilferers. Some people need to bust brick, I suppose, and others will take glass door knobs, hardware, and insulators so that they can get 50 cents at a flea market. They find little value in these things, and they don’t approach such a place with any sense of respect.

Jeff is different. He loves these old places, and finds a purpose in giving them new life as birdhouses and decorations, so that others can enjoy these relics anew. It’s very important to him; it’s his purpose. There is a purity of intention that I appreciate – I consider it an honor to be able to help him capture the old beauty before it’s gone forever.

Associated Posts:

They Leave The Nest So Early An old school in Arapahoe being dismantled by Jeff.

A Mother’s Kiss One of Jeff’s creations in action “in the wild.”

Grandfather’s Legacy The story of our first visit with Jeff.


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10 responses to “Purity of Intention

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  1. Beautifully done Rob. I’m looking forward to seeing the interior shots.

  2. wow Rpb amazing work! super.

  3. Nicely done as always Rob!

  4. A somber day for a somber subject. I do not think the image would have been as effective with a bright blue sky. Nice leading line, too.

  5. Interesting observation, Mark Summerfield. The original actually did have a mostly cloudy sky with some blue showing through; the grasses along the edge were green, as were the trees. I didn’t think it fit the mood, so I applied a sepia tone throughout, desaturated some areas, and did some constructive dodging and burning.

    Thanks for checking in!

  6. We love Jeff’s work and his love of anything old,he is an old soul.Tom and Sharon London

    Tom and Sharon London
  7. Properties like this will never be seen again, so it has to be ‘catch them when you can’. I love the setting of this and the house itself – and shot like this it just blends into the landscape. I’m looking forward to seeing the interior, Rob.

  8. A beautiful shot, Rob. It’s nice to know that some of the wood is being used for such a wonderful purpose.
    Thanks for including the links.

  9. What an awesome series, Rob, I enjoyed all three of the posts you’ve put up so far my friend! These kind of subjects just haunt me, and your work really brings this feeling to life. Great work!

  10. Pingback: Awesome Links for Photographers to Browse Over a Coffee

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