Americana, a Time Travel Machine and a Friend named Les

by Kim February. 17, 2017 741 views

Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. ~~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Landscape photography--any photography for that matter encompasses worlds within worlds; art, history and recording moments that will never return.  Painting and other mediums record as well but not to the same accuracy of the lens.  There is a difference between a painting and a photo of Abraham Lincoln.  We, the viewer know the lines in his face are real--the care on his brow...real and not a subjective interpretation.  I'm sure that people will argue with this and say that any time one edits the artist is putting their view on the piece.  I can't argue with that either.  But we know that it happened in that moment in time and no other.  Certainly not over days of easel and paint, shifting light or even facial expressions rippled with temporary and subtle moods.  We know that this moment 'happened' and was captured forever.  

I took this shot on an old farmstead, February, 2013.  Pennsylvania winters are brutal one day and then gentle the next.  You could get a ton of snow and the next day the sun would come up and mop up all the white, breaking into a blue sky.  I was on the back roads of rural Smethport (Gosh, Smethport is like one big back road) which is a simple, quaint little town holding our county seat.  Attorneys live there in pristine Victorians.  There are only about three restaurants---one favorite is "Court of the Angels".  Americana is really something to experience because it flies in the face of what most of the world knows us by--our television shows.  Glittery cities, flashy things and the stereotyped "American"--loud, brash and bossy.  This is so false in so many ways.  Most Americans live in small country houses in little towns where people know each other's name.  We are big on giving here--small town charities, funds and drives.  If people need something, their neighbors are there with a lending hand.  People actually keep their cars and house unlocked in some parts.  They obey traffic laws (sort of. :) ) and drive slow.  I got up on the highway the other day at 6 am and I was the only one merging!  We are in debt not because we are extravagant spenders but because its hard to make ends meet for most folks.  Medical bills are probably the biggest culprit for most Americans who either can't afford insurance or don't have it at all.  And yet, despite all this--we chose to live and thrive in our small hometowns.  

I think I've gotten off my original subject, don't you?  Back to photography!  I was traipsing around the back-roads to Smethport with my dear friend and local photographer Les.  We were still learning about each other and there is no better way to learn about someone than to take them on a photo expedition.   Les was very cool.  We kept seeing the same things.  With joy we kept wanting to stop at the same moments and connected deeply because of this experience.  I thought this one shot summed up our day.  It was if we had traveled back in time together and were standing on any old farmstead in the early 1900's instead of the 2000's.  And honestly, in that moment maybe we were.

Smethport Pennsylvania
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