Nostalgia without the inconvenience

December 02, 2012  •  6 Comments

The Barn Next Door

Part of a local workshop a couple of years ago was an opportunity to visit a farm where barns and work buildings are being refurbished, the intent to offer visitors a view of what life there was like when it was a working establishment.  We photographers were granted permission to wander around the grounds and buildings without other visitors being present.  There were maybe half a dozen of us so each got plenty of quiet time in the buildings and on the grounds.  As you see in the image there was plenty of snow around that really muffled any sounds present, giving the impression we were far out in the rural area.

Since the refurbishing was in progress, many of the buildings retained a worn look to them, years of service showing in their joints and beams.  The scene above came after I glanced out the window across the yard and noticed the contrasts in the barn across the way - white surrounding all the openings and edges against a dark painted surface.  I made the image from here because I liked how the dirty window gave a sense of utility, that this isn't a museum yet where surfaces have to be pristine and protected.  It could be a scene from many working places across the Plains and upper Midwest, and anytime in the past century. 

As well as dirt on the window there was the haze formed by the condensed, warm air hitting the cold glass plate.  Looking through that gave me a sense of comfort, of being in a construction designed to keep the winter weather out and protect all that was inside.  Part of winter's challenge is how you deal with it, whether it be synthetic fabrics, stone walls or roaring fireplaces, and farmers have probably tried just about all of them in order to secure their families and livestock against the northern assault of winter's elements.

Eliciting a sense of coziness is probably easier with a fireplace scene or candles in the windows of a cabin in the woods, but I like using this type of contrast, looking out from inside and letting the viewer arrive at the same feeling when they realize keeping "out there" where it should be is the purpose of our search for shelter, home and hearth.  Peering through a frosty window where the cool air drafts across your face can offer a cozy feeling as you realize that by turning around you can walk into shelter and away from the harsh conditions just outside the glass. 


Comments

6.Mel Mann Photography
Thank you. I'm working on getting my photography to match my writing so it's good to hear your comment. The only advice I can offer is to keep writing and shooting - you'll find your voice.
5.focalpointphotograph(non-registered)
I started my blog recently, and am looking for ways to improve... the way you set up the emotions of your images through words is really inspiring. I am a very graphically inclined person, and usually skip over the text while looking at photo-blogs. After I read just 3 sentences below this image, I couldn't bring myself to stop.
So I guess what I am saying, is don't stop writing, and I won't stop reading.
Your images are beautiful, and I want my words to be more like yours.
4.Mel Mann Photography
Thanks, Kate. I think "wistful" really nails the emotion I was getting when I was there.
3.Kate Cooper(non-registered)
really nice Mel, love the wistful feel
2.Mel Mann Photography
Thank you. Sometimes you have frames already in place just waiting for an image to be put into them!
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