This photograph was taken a few years ago at Eckley, an historic mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nowadays it’s an unusually quiet place tucked into the mountains – two straight rows of company houses which face each other across a simple road. At the time of our visit it was a place of abundant texture, because the laborious work of restoration had barely begun.
Much like the photographs in the two previous posts, this is a portrait of a building blending with its landscape. Again, a solitary structure photographed from the front in two dimensions without the intrusion of architectural perspective. I’ve done this habitually over the years, at first being unaware of my tendency. Over time, I’ve grown attached to this technique the same way one becomes fond of good advice. It’s not always the answer but it is a way of looking at things that has its own unusual language. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on aesthetically, but let’s take a stab at it.
An image of an old building taken directly front-on creates a facade – a face of sorts with character and personality. Under the right circumstances, this will have a tendency to simplify a composition rather than complicate it. Simplicity is good. This angle often represents the most lyrical view. It can also hint at humor and at times can impart a desirable sense of the surreal. Importantly, these images defy the funneling effects of perspective, and bring a calm stability which keeps one’s eyes attached to surface qualities. Textures are enhanced in such pictures because they’re not competing with perspective. What appeals to me most in this image is the muted harmony of closely matched color values. The teal green of grass is both complimented and refreshed by the vertical orange door. In a dense fog, colors will often appear as similar grays, at least to the talented squinter.