01-13-12 Ghosts

2012 01-13 Another Day

This is a closer view of one of the two buildings pictured yesterday. This photo was taken right around sunrise and it occurs to me that this old building has lived to see a lot more sunrises than I have.

I asked my first year photography students recently to tell me what they thought a photographer was and Bjorn, a person whom I think has great promise, suggested that a photographer is a person who engages in time travel – that photographers have the power to take those who view their photos to a particular place in time. It was an astounding and unexpected answer. And of course, Bjorn’s answer has me thinking. . . .

I realize, for example, that while my photos allow me to do my own kind of time travel in that they help me remember things that I have seen and experienced, they also have the power to do the same for the viewer. You may have never been to this particular place, but it may remind you of similar places.

Photos like this may have another emotive power, too. It’s not hard to see the ghosts of those who lived at this farmstead. I look at this scene and can see the farmer’s wife stepping through the door to check for fresh eggs, I can see the children playing in the tall, prairie grass and I can see the farmer working the distant field with his simple tractor.

To me, this way of life exists in my imagination as I am a “city boy.” But to many South Dakotans, this life still exists. It is as real and predictable as the the South Dakota sunrise.

Canon 1DII 1/6s f/9.0 ISO100 17mm

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8 thoughts

  1. Neat picture and some very good thoughts about what it means to be a photographer. Thanks – always enjoy your photos. (I don’t know if I told you I am the dad of Kyle at Joy Ranch.)

    • I have not met your son, Richard, but my wife told me that she had met a young man last week who told her that his dad lived in ND and looked at my blog from time to time. You were a mystery man. 🙂 But today we meet. (At least virtually.)

      Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog and thanks, also, for your comments today. If you ever get to Watertown, it would be fun to get together.

  2. Originally being from North Dakota, your photo does evoke emotions of a far distant past in me. I was unable to appreciate the beauty of the prairie and former life that I once lived there until I left. Imagine the stories.

    • It’s interesting that we often don’t appreciate and having a hard time seeing things that are right in front of us. Thanks for your comments.

  3. As much as I truly enjoy your photos, your perspective on scenes we see every day (sometimes), I REALLY enjoy when you comment as you did today. I learn more when I hear what you were thinking when you took the photo, or ‘processed’ the photo. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as your photography skills.

    • Colleen, I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: you are one of the reasons that I do this blog. Thanks for reading it and thanks for your comments. I really appreciate both.

  4. Scott Shep. It’s a really good photo, but your comments are even more powerful. I think that’s what we should all be trying to do in our photography – bring people back to that moment. And for those who didn’t experience it, give them enough image to be able to imagine being there.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jeff. I think that sometimes we don’t know the power and impact our photos have. Certainly those that I’ve posted on this blog stand as an example since I rarely “hear” what people are thinking. This isn’t a complaint. Just an observation.

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