Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Kallstrom Barn Dance II


It's hard to make the Kallstrom barns stop dancing. When I shot them last winter (see: http://rothphotos.blogspot.com/2007/04/processing-image.html ) they were dancing despite a noreaster blowing sleet and snow through the farmstead. No goats stepped out into that furiant; the barns danced alone. This week the tune was more bucolic, and here they blush in the warm evening sunlight. But it's the same dance then as now.

The Joker


Susan Sontag says, "All photographs are momento mori. To take a photo is to participate in another person's (or thing's) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt." If so, the images of Kallstrom farm have the mark of the joker about them, laughing in time's face. Where splintered boards seem about to fall baby lambs scamper beneath their mothers. A ladder lies on a rooftop waiting for repairs to resume. A truck lies rusting in the weeds, it's cargo still aboard. Nobody can remember a time when it wasn't parked just there. Goats with curved goats and long beards graze and cast a cynical eye and answer back to the bahhh-hbahhh of the lambs. All about are the relics of 100 years of Kallstrom farming, custodians of an inscrutable story. Cows, goats, lambs, and people barely notice as each carries out its appointed task.

Having just produced a more comprehensive image of Straight Farmstead, it's satisfying to follow it with a similarly comprehensive image of Kallstrom, the former quiet and shy, this one, a never resting prankster.