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Shooting the Barn


On the short commute to work each day I pass through a stretch of wheatfields and basalt quarries. I've driven the road so many times that the car seems to drive itself while I work out the day's schedule in my mind or deal with my cowlicks in the rearview mirror. Anybody with even a modest amount of driving to do each day knows what I am talking about.

But it struck me the other day how much this little stretch of road is changing and that startled me out of my complacency. It is only a matter of time before the road is widened or businesses start popping up on cheap farmland. Of course, like most things rural change happens at a pre-global warming glacial pace. Anyway, what spurred this revelation was the site of a row of cars parked on the shoulder and a troop of photographers (from a university class perhaps?) taking pictures of the barn shown above.

I saw another photographer today and one yesterday. That barn is getting photographed more than Kate Moss these days, I thought. Why? Driving home tonight I looked closely and noticed that it is near collapse. The bent boards on its sides are straining under the weight of the structure and are about to give way any day.

Oddly enough the barn has always been there - at least for as long as I can remember. It is a metaphor for the agricultural history and the small scale lives that made up this community and thousands like it all over the west and the whole country for that matter.

Now I understand the need to capture it and to hold on to the moment before it is gone: it is not the barn that we will miss, after all there are hundreds dotting the roads and hills surrounding us, but instead it is the idea behind that metaphor - the idea of another time and place.
gregory turner-rahman