I photograph abandoned homesteads in the area where I grew up. I look for remnants of the people who used to live there and for items they have left behind. Many different people have inhabited each space and left their own mark and items behind. I want to feel and imagine the collective presence each space has collected. The items or artifacts I encounter are usually decayed. Their decay has happened through a combination of the passing of time and exposure to the elements. The decay gives us evidence of time passing. Something not easily manufactured or faked.
I grew up on a farm with the nearest town being forty miles away. Our nearest neighbor was five miles away. Its easy to look in any direction and see nothing but open land. Nothing obstructs the view of the countryside. An epic horizon of flat land, a few tiny specs of structures obscured slightly by atmosphere on a hot day. This is the image I grew up with, always barren always the same....something you could count on.
Eighty years ago, however it was full of people and full of life. Sixty families lived in a twenty-mile radius of my parents farm. This area was called Winview. Winview was home to a dance hall, baseball field, and a post office which should have put it on the map. But only government photographic surveys recorded evidence of these structures.
Now there is not much to tell, Winview ever existed except on a few pieces of paper, a couple of abandoned farm houses, and the memories of elderly people who no longer live there. Once the great depression hit the community dispersed and the area became what it is today pasture and farmland. It baffles me to think that the land I grew up on and around was once a flourishing community. How could it be any different that what I know it to be now.
What I hope to achieve with my photographs is a feeling of personal connection to the spaces I investigate. I shoot the spaces in color to maintain their natural presence as much as possible. Through my photographs I question the nature of historical evidence. What is history if we have no documented evidence to prove it? Today there is no Winview. But you can get a sense of this almost forgotten community through these images. I hope everyone can relate to these spaces through personal experiences.....we have all left at least one place behind in our lifetime.