Black & White Barns

The second TTV project currently in-the-makes features a series of black & white photographs of barns. This project, ultimately, might also include barnyards, barn animals, and fences... we'll see. I think this project is not only about my ongoing fascination/ conflict with rural vs. urban lifestyle and landscape (this one's tricky as an eco-friendly gal) but also about nostalgia, memory, and time. Hmm...

I love how the black & white manipulation seems to imply that the photograph is even older than the vintage lens that captured the image. And how any modern marking around the barn (power lines, paved roads, modern farm structures & tools, or even just the modification and upkeep of the barn itself) creates a small riff that might make the viewer suspicious of manipulation. I'm interested in this idea of created or manipulated nostalgia through digital effects. I suppose in some ways I'm making knock-offs. But that sounds so harsh!

I have to guess that some initial intrigue also came from these vintage photos of my grandmother by the barns. A few years ago, I made a fabric book featuring photos of my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother with excerpts of text from my great-grandmother's journal. I've considered making a second book that would feature my grandfather and great-grandfather but it seems instead I'm turning to the barns. (To the architecture, landscape, structures and vessels that hold the memories and also that contain the craft, construction, and handiwork that was so overtly utilitarian.) Along with this, I'm doing some preliminary research on barn structures and origins.

But mostly, I wonder if it's possible to create nostalgia and longing or even vintage and dated aesthetics through overtly modern manipulation. And then I wonder, so even if it is possible, what compels us to do it?!? And can I really delve into questions about the digitized age by using digital effects to create an antiquated look? Hmm... Dear friends, I would love to know your thoughts on this one.


  1. I just started exploring barn restoration books... the one you've taken photos of looks like Michigan Dutch style to me!

  2. Chris Brown6/02/2008

    Dig this project a lot!


  3. The book you reference on flickr is gorgeous and I am really grooving on the barn project.

    Modern manipulation to create vintage aesthetic...hmmm. This sort of discussion requires along evening and a bottle of good vino. In the meantime, I will be pondering.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.