Seriously, I don’t consider myself a “serious photographer”, but I have been on record in the past that photography enthusiasts should learn about the history of photography and especially about the meaningful photography made by the “masters”since photography was invented in 1836 and 1837 France. Even the most un-serious of us can practice and prepare our skills on whatever subjects are available and be more confident when we do collide with possible images that stir some inner emotion. The three doors show here, with a blue painted exterior door and two white or cream colored inside hallway doors were found just as they appear here, with fallen ceiling plaster, peeling layers of wallpaper on the wood lath walls and even a few tumbleweeds holding several of the doors open. Did I recognize it immediately as something “serious”? Not really, but I was fortunate or lucky enough to see the relationship, a circular composition from the bottom of the left edge doors upwards and to the right through the “face-like” wallpaper “frieze” and back down through the plaster “head” along the baseboard “looking” back to the doors. A camera placed on a tripod, a Zeiss 24mm to 85mm zoom lens and a 13mp sensor worked the composition of the subject seen. Later in PhotoShop, I needed to align the vertical door frame very slightly since the small room didn’t give me space to see well enough through the camera’s finder to make sure the camera was accurately leveled.
The last image seen in this blog that I call “Spirits in the Attic” was another image taken for a NEBRASKALand Magazine assignment on pioneer sod, log and rock houses abandoned and quickly deteriorating. The “spirits” are represented by coats hanging as found in the attic of a two-story hand-hewn log house. The owners of both the sod house above, as well as the log house shown here and another soddy interior shown below were all kind enough to provide permission for entry and investigation of their parent’s and grandparent’s homes. It feels so good to ask permission and then be rewarded with wonderful glimpses of the pioneer occupants.
This interior window in a master-built, two-story sod house west of Harrison provided another glimpse of ‘forgotten treasures” and I can’t begin to guess what the pitchfork is doing on the shelf below the window. The owners of this soddy described the colorful home’s use as a gathering place for family and neighbors, both for dances in the large living room and for baseball games on the flat prairie to the home’s west. I wish I could say it was still possible to hear the music, perhaps a pioneer violin inside the thick walls and the echo of the bat hitting the ball well into the outfield outside. “Warm in the winter and cool in the summer” and despite the ages and fast falling walls, still a beautiful reminder of the life and times of the pioneers.
Finally, the last of today’s image, although the blog layout software threw an earlier image to the last — thanks for sticking with me and your patience. Here is an eroded soddy wall that I like to call “Buffalo Sod” — the original sod house, on the Panhandle prairie north of Scottsbluff, was completely encased in concrete blocks but when the roof opened, rain and melting snow began an artistic sculpting of the dirt and layered grass sod. This is an image made possible, a combining of the historic and the modern, by a digital HDR “blend” to capture the extreme contrast difference between the dark sod and the bright sunlit grass. HDR is high dynamic range and the final image is a layering of 4 or 5 digital frames, each made at a different exposure.
So there we are, these a not meant to be too serious, but I thought it was interesting that it was only uncounted rolls of film, years of using a spot meter to work the Ansel Adam’s zone system of b&w exposures, and yes, more than a little luck that made a few frames that are, at the very least memorable to their photographer.