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The Belgian Mare Says Hello!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Old Houses

Since I was a young child, I have not been able to pass an abandoned house without becoming overcome with a sense of wonder. I could not help but speculate on myriad things: Who lived there? Why did they leave? Were they good people? If I met the former residents, would I like them? How does one come to the decision that an entire house is no longer worth keeping?

Abandoned houses fascinate me. They seem to have so many stories to tell, alas I will never hear them. The stories of every abandoned house are just below the surface, screaming to get out, yet forever beyond our knowledge. Perhaps it is this mystery that draws me in.

In my adult life this fascination continues. Now that I am an avid photographer, I cannot pass an abandoned house with out snapping a few photos. This habit has occasionally lead to a misunderstanding with the local constabulary, but that is another set of stories.

This photo was taken on Bere Island, Ireland. I can provide no facts about this house. We were hiking back from the highland areas toward the ferry when we passed by it. In the gloomy overcast afternoon, with shingles missing, it just seemed sad, yet it was also very compelling. What was its story?

I keep coming back to the idea of an abandoned house's stories. My fascination arises from wanting to learn those stories. Perhaps it is more correct to say that the fascination comes from speculating on those stories. If I were to learn those stories, would I lose the fascination? Perhaps it is best I never learn the stories, for if I lost my fascination, that would truly be a tragedy.

This photo of the Bere Island house has proven quite popular at the shows I have attended. One observer told me that, after seeing the photo, she dreamed of the house. For me as a photographer, that is a triumph: I have successfully passed on my sense of wonder to the viewer.

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