I’d come to the conclusion recently that I was failing as a photographer. I wasn’t seeing my local environment with the same eyes I viewed new places with. I’d spent so much time going to new and exciting places, that I’d allowed myself to forget that there are new and exciting places to photograph right here at home.
On New Years Day I left home with my camera, intent on finding a new vantage point to shoot the sunset. Somewhere close to home, but where I might not have thought to photograph before. I tried a few places, looking at them with a critical eye and “bookmarking” them for other times of the day. Then, driving along, I remembered The Farmhouse. A decade ago it was home to a family and children and a dog. I met them once while walking by. I used to look at it and think how interesting and historic it must look on the inside. And then they left it and posted their no trespassing signs and the house began to fall away. The lawn went, and then the windows, and then the outbuildings…now I doubt its safe to walk in the front doors without some of the house coming down around you. But I still look at it and wonder at its history.
As I walked through the empty corn field, its stalks all mown to the ground, the sun dropped low, illuminating the front of the old farmhouse and peeking through the house from windows bare of glass. The wind kicked up a bit, frigid and causing me to pull my sleeves down over my hands as I shot. The mood was somber and I thought to myself that the only thing that might add more to the scene was if there were bones.
Literally two second later, I came across the old skull of what I think might have been a raccoon. It was so oddly fitting, it struck me that as dark as the scene was, it was…maybe…a sign that I was right to re-engage my viewing familiar surroundings with the same eyes that view new places.
I shared these photos with friends and one commented with a surprise. He’s pretty sure that the house once belonged to a woman who he believed to be a distant cousin through his great grandmother. So, I did find a little history on the house just by sharing it.
I still have some plans to travel this year, but my desire to photograph locally has been awakened and I hope that means my eyes will continue seeing as they should.