Abandoned, The Reawakening of a Lost World
For as long as I can remember I never pass an abandoned house without trying to get inside. I am like an anthropologist searching for ‘their’ stories and the unearthing of the remnants and traces of humankind in these once inhabited places is one of the most visceral and fulfilling escapes for me. It is there among the splintered floorboards, dilapidated structures and overgrown fields where I literally transcend time and see and hear the echoes of past lives still holding on.
In this series of photographs I have specifically focused on abandoned lands in rural upstate New York where I live. Long ago thriving farms and lands that today lay dormant surround me, and my goal is to shed light on those that once lived there. To help relay my very real emotions of both melancholy and nostalgia, while at the same time build a story with historic accuracy, I layer vintage (circa late 19th Century to early 1920’s) photographs over my own images. I keep true to the original subjects in each photograph by changing only the backgrounds, thus keeping the poses as found which I believe is essential to their historic integrity. I painstakingly search to find and utilize early photos that I feel have an authentic relationship to each abandoned structure. By juxtaposing these once proud sittings and captures of the past with the now heartrending ruins I am able to illustrate my connection to the people that once lived in these now abandoned structures generations ago, while relaying the very real sense of loss I feel today. More importantly, as these newly created images harken back to their historic counterparts they teach me about more than just the past. They open a dialogue about who the people were that toiled the soil, labored the farms and built the towns and cities of today. I dedicate and share each image as a kind of totem, built from layers of history in quiet celebration and reverence.