Archive for the ‘farmhouse’ Tag

Through the Glass   9 comments


Through the Glass

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Continuing on with the series from the abandoned farmhouse in North Carolina, I found an interesting composition through a door sidelight in the front hallway, looking back toward the kitchen, pantry and other rooms at the back of the house.

One has to tread very carefully through here; the right side of the house is pretty much missing, and the best path is to balance-beam along the floor joists.

Of compositional note: The original frames were much wider, but when I cropped this to something close to a 9:16 format, it just popped.

Related Posts:

Through the Bedroom Window
Inside Lines
Purity of Intention

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Through the Bedroom Window   2 comments


Through the Bedroom Window
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Although the abandoned farmhouse sits directly on road frontage, if you look out the back windows, there are farm fields about as far as the eye can see.

I tried to imagine what life must have been like in this area so many years ago. There was likely very little traffic, no airplanes overhead, no air conditioners humming. Perhaps the owner was rumbling along the fields in an old tractor; kids out back playing under the huge trees that have long since fallen; the matriarch of the family calling to them through this back window, the breeze fluttering the curtains. Time to come in and wash up for dinner.

It’s eerily quiet there now, except for the occasional passing car. The farmhouse has melted away, but I suspect not the memories that the residents had of living and growing up here.

Related Images:

Inside Lines

Purity of Intention

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Inside Lines   5 comments


Inside Lines

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I entered the abandoned farmhouse featured in “Purity of Intention”, entering not through the front door, but through a window in the room on the right, as Jeff had shown me. Often, due to weathering, the front porch is the first thing to fail on these old houses. I tested the porch floor, and although I had on my heavy boots and clothes, I knew that it was not to be trusted.

Moving carefully from room to room, I looked for the opportunities. One of the first to appear was this view from the back of the central hallway toward the front; the play of light and shadow was compelling, bringing in both a comfortable feel as well as some genuine spookiness. The lines from the stacked boards, the ceiling, and the exposed beams all converged on the front door. The house also showed that the owners had a sense of decorating style, as the blue, green, and yellow paint were all visible from one spot.

Jeff had already removed some materials from inside. The rest, no doubt, was likely the result of vandalism.

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Purity of Intention   10 comments


Purity of Intention

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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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Elbow Grease   12 comments


Elbow Grease

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Sometimes, you just get lucky.

We were driving through a rural area and passed by an interesting place, so we wanted to turn around to check it out. Just before our turn out, we saw a man and woman approaching an old, abandoned house through a yard full of weeds and grasses. As we passed the house again, we noticed the woman standing on the porch.

The place we wanted to see was closed, so we turned back to our original route. As we approached the abandoned house once again, we saw the couple waving us down. Perhaps there was some sort of trouble.

The couple had seen us passing by for the third time and thought that we were ‘locals’ who were checking them out. As they told us later, “Everyone around here is related, so we thought it would be a good idea to let you know that this house belongs to our family.” Good information to have on both counts, I thought.

We heard their interesting story about how the man and his sister had been adopted by different families, and had only found each other recently after a 17 year search. The old house had belonged to the sister’s father, who passed away some time ago, leaving the house unoccupied.

Being the curious sort – and, of course, armed with a camera and tripod – I asked if I could poke around a bit. What had once been a beautiful old farm house was now collapsing in on itself. Along the front and sides, all of the doors and windows were blocked with plywood. Rats! (Um, not real rats. I just couldn’t see inside.) Around back, though, there was an old mud room door with no glass in the windows, just some loose cardboard that had seen better days.

“Would you mind if I just stuck my camera through this window?”, I asked. I find it never hurts to ask. “No problem.”

It was so dimly lit inside that I didn’t even know what was in there, and given the musty, moldy smell coming through, I wasn’t about to go inside. Apparently, it had been quite some time since the detergents and mops were used there.

The “skylight” is courtesy of last year’s Hurricane Irene, which had peeled back a significant portion of the tin roof. It’s a look.

It’s just a simple Rurex (Rural Exploration) composition – one not particularly noteworthy, at that – but it gave us the chance to stop along our route, do a little exploration, meet some interesting people, and then check for ticks.

Pete and Kelly, if you see this on the blog, please drop me a line at my email address. Thanks for letting us peek into the old place. It was a pleasure to meet you.

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Southern Summer Cottage   8 comments


A dilapidated cottage in rural eastern North Carolina

Southern Summer Cottage - © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography

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In last week’s post A Stair Whisperer’s Invocation, I wrote that at one location we had been stopped by a rather large gentleman in an even larger pickup truck, wondering just what we were doing there. This is ‘there,’ although at the time I had some pretty serious questions as to exactly where ‘there’ was.

One often hears advice that you should shoot what you have available. Even this morning, a blog I follow suggested that you become a tourist in your own area, seeing the sights anew. Well, this is what we tend to have available there in eastern N.C., or at least available for the things that I find interesting. It doesn’t take much of a drive to find some curious mess strewn about.

We walk a curious line, though: In the summertime, subjects like this can be completely overgrown and invisible. In the winter, you can find them more easily, but they lack the interesting foliage. But, sometimes you stumble across the perfect mix — a great opportunity, provided that no one gets too upset about your being there.

Right after taking this set, a pack of dogs started barking across the field. I figured I’d better ‘git.

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A Stair Whisperer Invocation   7 comments


The front of an old dilapidated farmhouse built prior to Civil War in rural North Carolina

A Stair Whisperer Invocation, © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography, All Rights Reserved

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This one was taken specifically with my friend, Bob Lussier, in mind. He is affectionately and properly known as The Stair Whisperer, after his incredible interior shots of the mills of Massachusetts. In the minds of most, nobody does it better.

Toward the end of a long, hot day exploring some new-to-us places, we stumbled across this broken down farmhouse. Sure, it was just off the road, only a few feet up a rural driveway, but what would it hurt to get right up there and shoot the inside? Who’d mind?

For the second time that day, a car wheeled down the road and, as bad luck would have it, pulled into the driveway. The couple inside stopped to ask what I was doing there. Fortunately, they were much more friendly and receptive than the burly guy in a huge pickup who stopped me earlier at another location. (“This is private land.” “But, it wasn’t marked as private, and it’s on our GPS.” “It eee-is.” “Okee-dokee, then…we’re just leaving now.”)

Mr. & Mrs. Wiggins gave me a pretty thorough history of this place, and invited me to shoot away. The farmhouse actually dates to before the Civil War, and it is said that at night in a rain, it glows inside as though there are lights on. I didn’t wait for nightfall to check on that.

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, 17mm, ISO 100, f/4.5, seven exposures at +/-1EV with Promote  Control. Processed using HDR Express, Photomatix Pro, and Nik Color Efex Pro in Photoshop CS5.

 

 

 

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