I've been photographing New England for the better part of two decades, traveling from countryside to coastline capturing images that depict the essence of New England life. The majority of my work has focused primarily on the seasonal landscapes, seascapes and picturesque scenes of quintessential New England.
However, one afternoon in 2010, all of that changed. While out on one of my road trips, I stumbled across a small, white weathered farmhouse on a rural country road. This lonely, crooked structure sat along the roadside in the shadow of an enormous tree accompanied by an equally tattered shed. With my interest piqued, I did as I normally do, and pulled off to the side of the road to survey the area and look for some potential photos.
It was cool and brisk with the sun muted by the cloud cover...as quintessential as a late November New England afternoon could be. I circled around back to get a better view of the open fields and the distant hillside and noticed that the rear door of the house was wide open. While this is not something I had ever done before, I was so intrigued by the exterior characteristics of this rustic homestead, I decided I had to see what was inside.
Stepping inside was like stepping back in time. It was cold, dim and silent, seemingly shut out from the world around me. No lights, no electricity, just a dense, stagnant chill making the temperature inside colder than it was outside. The corners were dark and shadowed, the rooms were empty and barren. The tattered wallpaper and shattered glass were the only remnants of life left inside all of this emptiness...it was right here where my fascination began.
I sat on the floor looking for the right composition in a room where life and loneliness collided. A room where the sunlight fought to creep in through the windows, where the tree limbs outside mimicked the floral pattern on the wallpaper, where the shadows slowly crept inward, pushing out the light, you could almost see the cold, crisp chill that surrounded me.
Today and every day that I see the image above, I can still see and feel all of the sensations and emotions I felt sitting in that room taking that photograph. It was a pinnacle moment for me as it was the first time as a photographer I realized that by capturing the right image I could actually transport a viewer into a scene, an environment, an atmosphere that I was in while behind the camera, allowing you to see what I saw and feel what I felt at that exact moment. This has become a cornerstone principle in all of my photography today.
I also realized that abandoned settings provide the most atmospheric, sensational imagery that evoke and stimulate the senses like nothing else. It was this moment and this image fueled my fascination with the abandoned and culminated into what is now Forgive Us Our Trespasses, a collection of images from abandoned placed across New England.
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