There is something about old barns and sheds that repeatedly draw my eye. It may be how they root us to our past, or maybe the attraction of living in simpler times. I’ve always loved the look of faded barn red paint. On our country road is a old red farmhouse with a small red shed nearby.
The farmhouse and shed were already abandoned when we built our home on this road over 25 years ago. A farmer up the road rented the adjacent land for planting corn. He always planted a few rows of sweet corn along the road on this property for all the neighbors. We got to know this farmer well– Don and Mary Shores. They taught us a lot about growing vegetables, raising and butchering chickens, and about the neighborhood. But we never did learn anything about this old farmhouse.
About 7 years ago I took my oldest son’s High School senior portrait with the faded red wood as a background. Two years ago I noticed how the shed was losing it’s battle with gravity and so I took some close up abstract shot of various parts of the shed.
While photographing this shed I could not help but wonder about its story. When was it built? Who built it? Did they have any power tools at that time? What was its purpose–animals, machines, garden tools? Was it owned by a young family or old couple? Did they farm the land themselves? What was life like back then? How many owners did it have over the years? When was the house and shed abandoned?
This past March we had some pretty nasty wind storms, and the shed could no longer fight the pull of gravity. It’s just an old shed and abandoned farm house… but it feels a bit like an old friend is gone. The pile of rubble remains, but the spirit of the place is gone.
Looking back I am glad I took images along the way. These images help tell the story and give color, shape and context that words simply cannot. When words fail me–and more and more they do–the camera lens helps me articulate what it is I want to share.