This is an example of how personal projects can transform vision and create visual growth. ‘The Small Vanishing Rhode Island Farm’ project has been ongoing for over a year. My studies began with a documentary approach, photographing barns and other vernacular wooden outbuildings. While focusing on texture, light and detail, I followed the thread of metaphor; timelessness, nostalgia and entropy. Little by little, I have been drawn closer to my subjects, seeing them in a much more intimate way. The framing is tighter, the essence of the subject is clearer. Black and white carries the feeling of nostalgia and being removed from the present, yet in some images it is the better choice.
My connection with these subjects has become more spiritual. I wait for the character of the subject to reveal itself before moving ahead. These subjects and details imbue the present with a sense of something beyond the image. Techniques like sketching and writing on scene have been especially helpful, slowing my process down and creating more awareness.
In my experiences photographing, I have heard from some farm owners that they bought the house because of the barn; or in other cases, the property has been in the family for generations. Background information and stories connect the past to the present.
In this latest image (found on my Instagram page @www.instagram.com/chwphoto) the window of a historic wooden farmhouse is framed with a branch of Wisteria in full bloom. I was immediately drawn to frame this small vignette carefully composed to include only what was essential to the feeling of the photograph. As always, texture is an important element in what I am attracted to seeing. Wisteria’s wildness and verdant nature, beautiful yet highly invasive growth, symbolically feels more alive than the aging shingles and peeling paint of the sills. Anthropomorphic qualities add to the story told; the curtain looks out, the leaves look into through the glass. The interior life of the house is hinted at through the curtain behind panes of glass, holding the secrets of many generations. The restful quality I experienced while composing this image recreates the authenticity I felt in its presence. I have always felt this curiosity about what has been left behind, stories contained with beauty in imperfection, written by the passage of time.