into another realm

The images here are something completely different for me, yet since I came upon this site while in Vermont last spring the abandoned burned out Motel spoke to me. I avoided it a few times, wondering what I can make of this space, what kind of photographs I could make from such a site. So being drawn like a moth to the flame, I finally drove off the main road to capture some shots.

These photos have haunted me since than and with the 150th Anniversary Exhibition for the Photographic Society of Philadelphia these are the images that kept coming to mind. These are completely different from anything I have done before, I have tried to ignore them but in the middle morning, 3:30 am, titles came to me, visions of these photographs repeated in my half awake state, finally causing me to get up and write the titles which I thought would be enough, not so.

I had to wash up, come down stairs, pet the dogs, make coffee, and preview the images which were burning in my mind. Even while working on them, and going through them I kept wondering, are these too dark, what is the story, what are you looking to convey? I think the titles say that, yet the story is in the photographs themselves.

I have been viewing a lot of contemporary photographs and I have been struck by their rawness, their sense of emptiness, even loneliness. Images of landscapes like these, and I wonder why someone is drawn to photograph such stark spaces?

Is it my dark side trying to present something, is it my desire to risk another side of my work that has not shown up before, influenced by modern photography? Yes, no, maybe?

Here are the images out of the camera, untouched:


Here are images that I contemplated with some enhancements, and treatment, which is something else I usually don’t do in my work.


Okay, I made this real. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am sure that I am going to get your thoughts and contemplations on these images and they are welcome.  I can only use three in the exhibition and they have to be submitted by Friday, (jpgs) do. The images still can be adjusted before selection and printing which needs to be done in the next few weeks.


14 thoughts on “into another realm”

  1. Jeff – if you can only use three of these photographs in the exhibition, my vote is for the untouched rawness of Loss, Vision, and Hope.

    Definitely a departure from what you normally do, but my goodness, extraordinary in its own heart-wrenching way.

  2. I agree with Laurie! Sometimes I think raw, stark landscapes appeal to the stripped-to-the-essence center of ourselves. So often we are too busy dressing up, covering and disguising our own skeleton selves to notice the very real architectural beauty built into the very bones of who we are. An appropriate time of year for thoughts like this, I suppose.

  3. Sometimes we are so busy sweeping things under the carpet (figuratively) in our daily lives, we forget that loss is still very much a part of our lives. I think your photos gently remind us of that in a direct and simple way. “Vision” is haunting – the contrast – fresh-looking white curtains on the outside, yet they are unable to conceal the peeling wallpaper and jumble of ruined furniture within. Loss can be riveting – we must pause to acknowledge it at times.

    1. Barbara,

      I usually don’t “try” to say something with my photography, I place the art out there for it to speak for itself, through the viewer and the viewing. For others often place meaning and focus on emotions that I did not have or really seek to convey!
      Yet there is story to be created here!

  4. Okay Jeff, I have a different take than Laurie and Kathryn. I would go with all three edited as black and white. The burnt building which I think “Loss” in the first raw set. The the “Loss” image from outside the hotel room from the second edited set plus a black and white of Hope… unless you can bring up the colour in this last image it may seem more hopeful as a black and white… just a thought though. I like that you are stepping out into the dark side… as light is only relevant within its relationship to darkness. Good luck!

    1. Terrill,

      I like your thoughts here! I am taking them under consideration. Submission for the online cataloge is due today, the finished product maybe be different! Thank you!

  5. I read this a long time ago (it seems) but am finally finding a few minutes to pause and respond. I like these images–especially the ones with the curtain. They don’t feel as dark as penetrating to the core of us. Something aches inside as we acknowledge that which is often hidden away or not shown to many. I am steadier staying with those places of self which have never fully been revealed–even to myself. Thanks for this post, Jeff.

    1. Kathy,

      Thank for returning and for your comments! There are always places in us that we need to journey into, not to feel comfortable but to challenge ourselves to begin to create change. Yet sometimes life creates those opportunities, as in these photographs…

    1. Has it been that long Kathy? I had a moment today that I almost wrote, there has been a discussion about Photography today, that has my juices flowing. Other than that, language wise I seem to be stuck!
      Almost everyday I think about writing, and then it just doesn’t happen!
      Thank you Kathy for checking in!

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