Friday, February 29, 2008

The Disappearing Prairie

Happy Leap Year Everyone!
Hope this message finds you well...

As some of you may already know, I spent the month of February almost exclusively traveling the Great Plains by car in search of abandoned houses and structures. The purpose, of course, was to photograph these forgotten buildings (just as I've been doing for the last year) for my "Rickety Buildings & Their Bones" Collection. And, furthermore - to record, and relay their forgotten stories before there are no stories left to tell. I spent many days trudging up hills, running across prairie, and battling the elements. Most every night I returned to where I was bunking with my body soaked from my waist to my feet from sitting in snow, or walking through various conditions. It was a blast, and when it was over, I did not want to come home. On trips like these I always go out thinking one thing, and upon returning, find I have been changed by the experience. I found myself in such remote, and lonely locations looking through abandoned bedrooms, and inside of houses still providing some shelter to beautiful and ornately carved banisters. Some locations had letters strewn from families across the floors. In one location, even, I found a families clothes still hanging in their closets. By the end of my trip, I had taken about 500 pictures of countless locations that seemed so far off any map, I'm amazed I found my way back.

Though there are so many yet to go through from this expedition, I'd like to share just a few with you that I feel really brought the past to life, and exemplified the reason these structures are so intriguing. They are so full of life, and character, and somehow still forgotten. May I present:

Up In Bijou Hills...




The Pulse of Alice...



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

sooo cool. wow.

Anonymous said...

I like how you chose to post two that are inside of them. I've seen the whole collection on Flickr and just can't get enough. Please keep doing what you do. Sounds like so much fun! We have NOTHING like that down here.

Caryn- South Beach, FL

Tienny said...

Ash.. WOWWW that is so great! I luv the pictures, i felt as if i was in the room and went back to that time.. very nicely done!

Bottle Bell Photography said...

Thank you all!
To tienny:
I know. It felt as if I was back in time while taking the photos. I'm glad I stumbled across them :)

Ash

Kara May said...

This is incredible!! Gives me goose-bumps - your images take me there and the ride is unbelievable. Your work is absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey.

Anonymous said...

These are just so amazing. I got chills immediately after reading the full story on flickr of this and the others. Such a great find on location! Great photo, and processing by a great photographer!

Milly L.

Anonymous said...

Hello Miss Lebedev ,

Have you had occasion, during your Midwest tour, to visit the old house in Lincoln, Nebraska of populist and friend- of- the working- man orator: William Jennings Bryan ?

I've seen photos from the outside it is beautiful . I wonder what it looks like inside .

Incidentally, I wish you could have visited my old stucco house on Clearview Avenue (not in the midwest but in Central Florida)that my Grandpa, aunt, and I owned before we sold it [in July of 2006] to avoid problems with the mortgage further down the years . I miss it imensely.

Sometime, I'd like to describe it more at length .

Jason at mudstones2@aol.com

Kim L. said...

These photos are beautiful. To able to see a glimpse into the past through an artist's eyes is truly wonderful. Hope you didn't get too cold. :)

Rosie said...

People should read this.