•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Friday, May 28, 2010

Watchtowers


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Poised on the west edge above a long, broad valley, these tile silos preside over the ruins of an old dairy farm and acres of cultivated fields. TODAY'S has been here before. "In Blazing Soy" and "Forsaken Acres" were made last fall just after the first frost when the fields of soy had been shocked to yellow. Yesterday's image, taken on the same December shoot as this one showed the farmer's abandoned home.

Travel in the valley moves north-south. Steep walls to the east and west isolate a ten-mile corridor of unhurried hills. In winter it becomes a hall where flocks of snowdrifts loiter and romp, but the snow is long gone. For the past week it's been part of my regular beat. There are half a dozen farmsteads of interest along the edges, and cows graze in pastures bordered by brown fields of newly planted corn or long grass ready to be mowed; the patchwork hills roll gently now like a body waking from sweet dreams.