Growing up in a rural area has its ups and downs, but you learn to appreciate the simplicity and the slow-paced lifestyle. One of my favorite things to photograph in rural areas are abandoned houses.
They are simple structures that tell stories of the area and the people that once occupied them. When they are abandoned it is as if time stops and the era it was decorated in is forever locked in time. The home decor is the last signature the occupants left on the place. A home is such a personal possession because it is a representation of its owners and in some ways defines a family.
The houses that were built in the rural America show characteristics of the settlers that came from different regions to take a chance on this new land. They brought with them the knowledge they obtained living elsewhere and adapted it to a new region. The structures went up quickly as new pioneers settled down and many new towns were formed. These houses were not built to last however, they were basic farm houses built quickly with the nearby resources they could find. The houses became homes to generations of families that decided to stick out the extreme temperatures and make a life here. I think the North Dakota winters are tough now, I can’t even imagine what it was like 100 years ago!
When I was traveling this summer I was reminded of how new our country is. My hometown just had it’s 125th anniversary a few years ago. We are so young! A single house has existed for the entirety of a town’s establishment. The abandoned houses that are withering away in the countryside show an entire span of civilization! These homes should be honored because they represent the hardship endured to create a life here and the battles they experienced through that process. It is hard to see any house go because of the memories they contain. However, it is not always practical to save these structures, which is why I choose to capture them on canvas and give thanks to the many lives they housed and moments in time they captured.