This week I submitted a portfolio of twenty images into a Photo competition in hopes of winning an Artist Grant to help with my pursuit of documenting Rural Decay. But, now I need friends, family and supporters to take a few short seconds to click on the link below and vote for me.
Thank you so very much for taking the time out of your day to support me and my work
I won’t disclose the location of this house because I have not yet been granted the permission needed to photograph it from a distance any closer than the road. I say yet because, despite the “no” I received, I am still working on other angles to gain legit access.
These photos were taken before I found the owner’s contact information posted on a tree.
I thought for sure that when I called the owner of the property that he or she would have been cool with me coming onto the property just to photograph it for my rural decay series. The lesson learned: NEVER assume.
Granted this house is not exactly located in a rural community, but it is still a perfect specimen of a decaying farmhouse that has been empty for the last ten years. I personally would have guessed fifteen years when I saw the interior decor and furniture, but ten years is what I was told by the owner.
The property owner, who also manages a major local realtor company, briefly explained that the current plans for the farmhouse are for it to be torn down, along with another smaller and younger house, within the next year for the development of yet another strip mall in the area.
His reasons on why I was not to be granted access onto the property were pretty lame, at least in my opinion. He stated that engineers will be surveying the property and that kids might be inside setting fires or illegal hunters might trespass etc. I understand the issue and concern over liability, but I made it very clear that I would sign a waiver and take full responsibility for my own self. I strongly believe that I am responsible for my ownself when I make a decision to enter an older building with weak floors and such. I know the risks and still I am willing to do what I do because I believe in what I do.
In the past four years I have spent many uneventful days in this small Texan town, rarely ever taking the time to see it. It wasn’t until one late warm Summer day last year that I decided to explore the unknown streets and remote corners that lay hidden away from the eyes of Main St.
My little adventure on these desolated bucolic backstreets lead me to some interesting nooks and crannies along with some perfect examples of Rural Decay. I even learned to appreciate a little town that I had, up until this day, pretty much ignored for its possibilities.
Photography has taught me to be more observant of my surroundings and to break out of my own comfort zones to explore what is unseen and what has been easily forgotten. In the past I have stuck to the main roads, but with my camera I find myself sneaking down the side streets and often stepping off the road completely. Without it I would have seen and experience so little.
My Mother is a funny person and just when I think I have her figured out she always manages to surprise me.
My family is and has always been very supportive of my passion to document rural decay in America and my own saintly mother has even taken it onto herself to scout for abandoned houses for me in the great state of New Jersey. I recently teased my Mom, who has very clear ideas of what is right and wrong, that she was encouraging her daughter to break several trespassing laws.
Her quick and blunt response: “you’re not breaking the law, you’re preserving history“.
Gotta love and fully appreciate how the Mom thinks! I am strongly inclined to agree with her. Some day these houses, these wonderful relics of the past will no longer exist, but my photos will and hopefully with them so will a bit of history.
This will be my third consecutive year that I have spent hunting for and exploring abandoned rural houses with my camera. I can still clearly remember the first house I came across in rural North Dakota, just a few short miles South of the Canadian border, and the rush of fear I felt about entering it. In fact I didn’t enter that first house because the house displayed a menacing vibe that got the better of my often overactive imagination…
Ever since that day I have kept a keen eye out for similar houses and worked hard in improving my photography skills in order to capture the essence and power of these forgotten structures. I enter them with little fear and plenty of determination to see what clues remains inside from the building’s previous life. Sometimes returning several times to see everything in a different light or season.
One day I hope to create a book on the subject, displaying my images and sharing my stories and research, but for now I seek, document and write.
I’ve decided I want to be a more productive artist this year and therefore will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011 as a motivational tool to push myself artistically.
It won’t be easy, but it will be fun and inspiring. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.
If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.