Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Murry's Steaks - West Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia 

I am always attracted to signs painted on buildings, but they are rarely at eye-level. The sign is weathering away and at some point will no longer be legible. This building is across the street from the Amtrak station in one of the more interesting areas of Charlottesville.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greene Hills Club - Greene County, Virginia  

Web Notes 

If you are planning to participate in this year's Solo Photo Book Month, or would just like to find out more about this project, the updated for 2010 SoFoBoMo website is now online.

Brooks Jensen, the publisher of Lenswork Magazine, offers his thoughts about preserving photographic work for the future on the Lenswork Technology Blog. Who will assemble the work being produced today, in what form will it be preserved, where will it be stored and accessible, and does it really matter? If you wonder about what the future holds for the photographs on your hard drive or for those boxes of prints or negatives, you will want to read Preserving a Body of Work.

Exhibition Notes
I recently received an email from one of my favorite contemporary photographers, Tim Barnwell, announcing several new exhibits of his work. At the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, North Carolina, an exhibit of photographs from his book "On Earth's Furrowed Brow" will run through May. 

The Portrait of Greenville exhibit at the Greenville Museum of Arts will have 15 of Barnwell's prints on display through September 26.

A traveling exhibit for the book, "Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia" (currently on display in Louisville, KY) will open at the Asheville Art Museum on May 14th and run to October 10..

Photography in Place will be taking a closer look at Tim Barnwell's work in the coming weeks.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shady Grove Bible Baptist Church - Greene County, Virginia

The only landmark in Shady Grove, Virginia, located on Simmons Gap Road at the base of Loft Mountain, is the Shady Grove Bible Baptist Church. The Lynch River flows down from the Blue Ridge Mountains and past the church.

Small churches like this are still fairly common in this area, reminders of the days when travel in the mountains was limited. A nearby church, no matter how small, filled a real need in isolated mountain communities.

See last Sunday's church

Friday, March 26, 2010

Barber Shop - Brookhaven, Mississippi

In This Place: Brookhaven, Mississippi - Part Four

It was late afternoon in Brookhaven, and this shady bench in front of the barber shop looked inviting. If you sit here facing the tracks, soon the whistle of an approaching freight train will sound. The railroad was once central to the life of this town, but the freights now pass through without stopping, while cars and trucks stream by endlessly on Interstate 55.

Information about the history of Brookhaven came from an article on the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce website written by Henry Ware Hobbs. The history of the Brookhaven Railway Depot is detailed at Great American Stations. To learn more about the travels of the Liberty Bell, visit the Liberty Bell Museum

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Art Studio - Brookhaven, Mississippi

In This Place: Brookhaven, Mississippi - Part Three

Walking under the Homeseeker's Paradise sign and down Cherokee Street into Brookhaven, the first thing that caught my eye was this stylish "Art Studio" sign. There was a "For Lease" sign in the window.

A little further down the street was The Haven. The theatre is now owned by the Brookhaven Little Theatre and is used for live performances. The building is a registered Mississippi Landmark and is undergoing renovation.

At one time, almost every small town had a theatre on the main street but now it is rare to find one that has not been converted to another use, or simply abandoned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Railroad Depot - Brookhaven, Mississippi 

In This Place: Brookhaven, Mississippi - Part Two

After lunch on the day of our visit to Brookhaven, I walked across the tracks to get a better look at the railroad depot. At the northern end of the depot, in a small Amtrak shelter, a small group of people were waiting in the heat for the City of New Orleans, which runs daily between Chicago and New Orleans. I missed seeing it, but freight trains rumbled by the station all day.

The railroad came to Brookhaven in 1858, opening markets for locally produced timber and cotton and bringing prosperity to the area. During the Civil War, the tracks were torn up by Union soldiers and rail service was not restored until 1867.

The Brookhaven depot, consisting of a passenger station and freight house, was built in 1907 by the Illinois Central Railroad. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Home Seeker's Paradise - Brookhaven, Mississippi

In This Place: Brookhaven, Mississippi - Part One

On a very hot day last summer, my wife and I visited Brookhaven, Mississippi. We were there to visit a relative and for my wife's genealogical research. In the afternoon, I took a walk with the camera to see what I could of the town.

The Home Seeker's Paradise sign was erected in 1915 on the occasion of the Liberty Bell's visit to Brookhaven.

From 1885 to 1915, the Liberty Bell made seven trips by rail-car to be displayed at World's Fairs. Along the way, it visited nearly 400 towns across the country. A visit from the Liberty Bell was a great occasion, and towns would put on their best, with parades and marching bands and other festivities. The trip that brought the Liberty Bell to Brookhaven in 1915 would be the last time that the historic icon would leave Philadelphia.

The original sign was taken down during World War II and was restored to its original site in 1996.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Outbuilding near Dyke, Virginia

Hen-house, workshop, garden shed or folly, small outbuildings are powerfully attractive. Small buildings may remind us of the cardboard box hideaways that sheltered us as children. Perhaps they remind us of primitive huts inhabited by distant ancestors. Or maybe outbuildings attract us simply because they are a place set apart, a place to work, to be alone, to daydream.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shiloh Baptist Church - Stanardsville, Virginia

In 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, the first Baptist congregation in the town of Stanardsville, Virginia, was established. In 1907, the congregation built a wood frame, Carpenter Gothic church. There were Confederate graves, some unmarked and some marked with up-turned stones, on the building site.

These are the graves of  men who died of a mysterious fever while encamped near Stanardsville in April and May of 1862 as General Richard S. Ewell was moving his troops to the Shenandoah Valley. These soldiers are commemorated by a small marker erected on church property by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The stone, which is scarcely legible, is inscribed to the "UNKNOWN DEAD OF EWELL'S ARMY."

Behind the church, a county schoolhouse still stands. It was built shortly after the church and was used as a school into the 1950s. The building now belongs to the church.

See last Sunday's church

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Posted - Greene County, Virginia 

Field Notes: Carte blanche

What I want is an official writ that declares to one and all that I, for the purpose of taking pictures, have unrestricted and free access to all property, both public and private, throughout the land. Unfortunately there is no one to grant me such a photographer's carte blanche.

Parks and other public land is usually accessible, but the things that I find most interesting, old buildings, for example, are most often on private land.  More and more, the countryside is becoming inaccessible. Fences, no trespassing signs, and occasionally an unfriendly dog work together to restrict photographic opportunities. What one sees from the roadway is about all one gets to see.

The answer to this dilemma is not easy for me. I respect the rights of property owners and do not knowingly trespass. I find it hard to approach people for permission and often it is impossible to find someone to ask.

I would be interested your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Near Wolftown -  Madison County, Virginia 

This photo was taken last Friday about forty-five minutes after the picture in yesterday's post. The rain had changed from a mist to a steady drizzle, and the clouds were closing back in. The colors in this field caught my eye while I was driving, and I stopped in the rain and mud to take some pictures.

 I rarely touch the saturation sliders in Photoshop (or in this case Camera Raw) and I did not increase the color saturation or otherwise manipulate the color in this photo. This is what I saw in the rain.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Madison Road - Greene County, Virginia

A storm moved through our region this past weekend bringing lots of rain and some minor flooding.

After a long winter, the land is starting to show color. The winter jasmine is blooming and the forsythia and daffodils will not be far behind. There is new green in the fields and the first blush of red in the woods. Friday afternoon, the rain washed colors glowed in the peculiar light from a storm sky and the clouds lifted briefly for a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stanardsville Baptist Church - Greene County, Virginia 

The Stanardsville Baptist Church was built in 1928. It is believed that some of the wood for this church may have been salvaged from the Dundee Baptist Church (1856-1927), which was located on Dundee Road along the nearby South River.

A square bell tower rises above the entrance vestibule of this one-story, wood-frame structure. Diamond-shaped shingles cover the bell tower and the gable ends. The photo above was taken from an angle that does not show two large additions to the building dating from 1950 and 1980. A third addition is planned.

The congregation of Stanardsville Baptist Church gathers weekly for worship in this building.

See last Sunday's church. 

Click on photos to enlarge

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Montpelier Station - Orange County, Virginia

Signs like this were once common in many parts of the United States. In Canada and other parts of the world, the Esso brand is still in use, but in the U.S., Esso became Exxon in 1973.

This photo was taken near Montpelier, the early 19th century home of President James Madison, in Orange County, Virginia.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pond at sunset - Greene County, Virginia

As a rule, I do not climb over people's fences. For that reason, my view of this overgrown pond in the woods beyond the fence was limited. But I like this glimpse of the pond through the trees and the last of the sunlight reflected in the water. Sometimes, restrictions work in our favor.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Small building near South River - Greene County, Virginia

On The Web - Talking about photographs

Bruce Robbins on his Photography Matters blog has started a new feature called PM Questions in which accomplished photographers are asked to answer a half-dozen questions about their work. There have been three photographers interviewed so far, and the results are well worth reading. The latest PM Questions is with photographer Richard Whitelock.

Lenswork Magazine has recently added several blogs to their website, and one that I recommend is Visions of the Heart. In each entry, Brooks Jensen provides a thoughtful commentary on a photograph, and invites comments and reactions from readers. These are not critiques, but rather seek to "provide some stimulus to thinking more carefully and more deeply about the images."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Trees along the South River - Greene County, Virginia

"But indeed, it is not so much for its beauty that the forest
makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something,
that quality of the air, that emanation from the old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit."

Robert Louis Stevenson - Essays of Travel (1905). Forest Notes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grace Episcopal Church - Stanardsville, Virginia

Even though the architecture of the Grace Episcopal Church is not as exuberant as that of the Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Rapidan, Virginia, it is still another example of a Gothic Revival, or Carpenter's Gothic building.

Build in 1901, this is the oldest of the three wooden frame churches still extant in Stanardsville. A parish hall was added behind the building around 1930 and a hyphen joined the buildings in 1960.

One of the most distinctive features of the building is the belfry with its open, pointed arches and cross. Below the belfry, the gable end is covered with diamond shaped shingles. A round window in the gable has been covered over.

Grace Episcopal Church faces Main Street in the middle of town and is the home of an active congregation.

See last Sunday's church

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warren County, Mississippi - Summer 2009

Last summer while visiting relatives in Mississippi, I got up early one morning and went out by myself to explore with the camera. With no destination in mind, I found myself on a narrow road through flat farmland on the southern tip of the Mississippi Delta. Recent flooding of the Yazoo River had left a patina of rich mud on the fields and on the gravel road that runs next to the river. An egret, upright and alert, searched for breakfast in a temporary wetland left in a low spot in the otherwise dry field. Along the line of trees in the distance, a tractor worked in a cloud of dust.

I drove away that morning in my own cloud of dust, carrying with me the silence, and the rising heat of the sun in a cloudless sky. It would be another hot day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

January 2007 - Greene County, Virginia

February 2010 - Greene County, Virginia

Last Saturday afternoon, I ran out to take a few photos of the Westover Church featured in this post. Over the past few years, I have photographed this church and its surroundings several times.

As I walked around the grounds of the church, I suddenly realized that something was missing. An old, abandoned house once stood in the pasture field below the church. It is gone, collapsed into a low pile of rubble with the roof resting on top. Perhaps the weight of recent heavy snows brought it down.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about this old house. I don't know when it was built, or who lived in it, or why it was abandoned. I don't even know when it fell in, but I am glad to have photographs of it still standing in this place.

How often do we see something interesting and think that later we will come back and take a photograph? The weight of time eventually brings everything down. Don't wait too long.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Barn north of Ruckersville, Greene County, Virginia

March is here. Across the road, the snow is off the farmer's field and the brown soil is veiled with green. In just a few days, the daffodils will begin to push through. It is still early and another snow in March would not surprise, but it is easier to imagine Spring than it was two weeks ago.