Reflections on a year in 365 photographs


with 6 comments


One reason I undertook this project is to stretch my photographic horizons in hope that I’ll settle on a style or even just a genre to focus on and master.  Of the thousands of photographs I’ve taken in my life, the majority have been travel or event related, usually in conjunction with a military deployment of some sort.  I have shot the twin towers in New York from the flight deck of the USS Kennedy.  I’ve traveled the length and breadth of Japan and other countries, capturing the unique cultures and peoples.  I have photographed miles of U.S. scenic roads and trails.

But in all that time, I don’t recall ever taking a photograph like this.  Photographer Chase Jarvis has found fame with his iPhone photography book “The Best Camera Is The One Thats With You.”  I have passed ruined tobacco barns on the back roads of down east North Carolina and not had a camera at hand.  I’ve inspected rotten buildings scheduled for destruction overseas that the military somehow renovates into expeditionary quarters or housing and not had a camera at hand.  For every image I have on film, print or slide, there are two or three missed opportunities I hold in my mind’s eye.

So today I determined to photograph in an abandoned building that I pass every day on my commute.  By appearances of the heavy construction equipment around it, I may have found it not even standing by the end of next week.  I may have taken the last photographs that will ever be taken inside this decayed old plant building.  This time I have the photographs!

As for this image, I have seen photographs of this type of urban decay quite often.  Many are graphically disturbing.  Some produce a profound sense of nostalgia.   Several convey a sense of lost beauty surrounded by a sea of modern plastic and glass.  A few, perhaps even this one, elevate the mundane to works of art.  I doubt that I’ll take up “urban decay” as my photographic muse, but I’m pleased with this shot.

As always, comment and critique are welcome.  When was the last time you passed a photo opportunity?

***Updated:  Check out my Flikr photostream for more images from this shoot, including a remarkably 3D-like HDR composite.***


Written by Brian Fancher

January 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

6 Responses

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  1. My favorite so far…very nice. I am inspired by your 365 project, I am trying.

    Phill J

    January 9, 2010 at 4:20 am

  2. I think I stayed in a barracks that looked like this once????

    Chris Barker

    January 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

  3. Very cool- Very interesting shot- love the textures you captured. Also it’s great that you’re in the mental space of searching out shots and not letting the opportunities pass you by… with photography, art and life it’s too easy to pass things up. Good luck with your project- I’ll definitely be checking in. I’m trying to create every day as well, but threadpaintings, etc can take a little longer 😦 I know, NO excuses! 🙂

    Helene (@desertsnail)

    January 11, 2010 at 1:36 am

    • Thanks, Helene. I enjoyed “Learning to Speak Again”. It hit home with me as I try to re-ignite that childlike curiosity.

      Brian Fancher

      January 11, 2010 at 2:54 am

  4. Really great shot. Gritty and poignant. The overall tone is fantastic!


    January 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    • Thanks. The responses I’ve gotten to this series of photos have inspired me to do more of this urban decay shooting. There is certainly a lot out there to choose from. Some of the most interesting right now are coming out of Detroit where they’ve lost so much economic underpinning.

      Brian Fancher

      January 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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