Sunday, September 11

Requiem for an Era

Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
Earlier this summer, I spent an hour shooting out at our county fairgrounds, in the old stables and barns scattered about. At the pond was an enormous gathering of geese and ducks waiting for their daily white-bread handouts. The only boarders were two very sad looking horses in the worst of the stables. Most of the barns stood empty -- it had been a long time since they had been filled with the musty breath of cows, and the sweet smell of horse sweat, children's laughter, cowboy hollers and the voices of swanky announcers calling over their loudspeakers.

I went back intending to try for better photos of the horses, and was surprised to find nothing where three rows of stables and a large old barn had been -- a huge pile of twisted bent and rusty metal sat off to the side.

My first thought was that I just wasn't looking hard enough, or maybe the stables weren't where I remembered them (even though I'd been out to these same stables dozens of times over the last 25 years ...) I got out of the car and looked closely at the pile of metal hunks - and noticed some telltale signs of the old stables I remembered. It seemed they had been callously ripped apart and bulldozed into an almost unrecognizable mountain of debris.

From twenty feet away, the pile was an ugly reminder that we still live in a throwaway society, even though we know on a deep level that we cannot continue to use up the non-renewable resources at the rate we have been ... still, these historic -- and to me, beautiful --- structures were gone forever.

I stood there wishing I had come back earlier, had known this was going to happen, had been there to document the life, and demise of these wonderful, earthy-smelling, warm-colored stables.

I felt sad. I wanted to walk away from there. But I made myself approach the mountain of metal closer and saw there was true beauty in the tortured twistings and folds of old steel. Okay, then I would try to capture some of the that remaining beauty. Some of stables' elegance and grace. The forgotten rural values I remembered. I wanted to shoot the light here before the pile was sent to it's final resting place -- probably the dump.

I hope I can help even just one person share the way I see beauty in common garbage. I hope I can help even one person be able to look at the world of waste around them and see the possibilities of light. If you want to see the rest of the photos I took that day, click here.