Friday, September 6, 2013

Abandonment: Old Burnt House

On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
I love photographing abandoned places, such as the old George Air Force Base housing and the Boss Hog Ranch. I have also photographed many other abandoned sites.

When you have an abandoned location that is large--for example the two places mentioned above--it can seem easy to photograph because there are many opportunities. You can find things all over to capture.
Three Nails Left - Tehachapi, California
When an abandoned location is small, it can be more difficult to photograph. Something that I have learned, however, is that limitations improve art. When I have a difficult subject is when I create my best work. 

What these photographs are of is an old burnt house outside of Tehachapi in central California. I'm not sure how old the house is (my guess is that it was built in the 1950's, although that is only a guess). I'm also not sure when it burnt down, but I would say that it was sometime between three and eight years ago.
The Charred Remains - Tehachapi, California
Not much is left of the structure. The northwest corner is still standing, as are two-and-a-half of the walls around the bathroom. Only a little sliver of the roof remains. The old home is mostly ash and rubble. There is so little left of the home that I had passed by it a dozen or so times before I even noticed that it was there!

What I determined is that, in order to best capture the site, I needed to have some close-up images and some further away images. I wanted to tell a story, as best as a story could be told. So I found some details worth photographing. The images when viewed individually don't tell the story, but when viewed together speak strongly of the place that I found.
Still Stuccoed On - Tehachapi, California
This old burnt house has been abandoned, ignored and forgotten. It is just a matter of time before it is gone for good. That's too bad, because this place was once full of life, inhabited by people with hopes and dreams. Those dreams are gone now, destroyed by fire. And only fading memories remain.

I want to give you one final thought about these photographs. There are photographers who will only capture outdoor images within a two hour window around sunrise and again a two hour window around sunset. Mid-day outdoor photographs are out of the question, especially if the sun is shining. However, these photographs were captured in the afternoon four hours before sunset. The point is that if you look hard enough you can find good light at any time of the day.
What Once Was - Tehachapi, California
A Sigma DP2 Merrill was used to capture these photographs.

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