Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Storm over Hanover Hill


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: How different Hanover Hill Farm looks from this spot at the edge of the fields by Route 22 instead of, as in the previous two photos, from the top of a hillside pasture a quarter mile north and just beyond Coleman Station! The compass points of all three shots are not too different. From the distant hillside the farmstead seemed in a valley. Here it is clear it is on the top of the hill. You can't tell what things will look like 'til you get there.

I took this photograph of Hanover Hill Farm on May 27, 2008. Until the barns in the photograph burned last month this image sat with the two previous images and other photos of Hanover Hill; all set aside and bypassed. Now that the barns have burned, and I know there will be no more images, I'm moved to post these. I claim to have little interest in documenting the appearance of farmsteads; a "memorial edition" seems out of character. In fact the real reason for selecting these now is that I believe they are finally done.

The caretaker was very clear, "No trespassing!" Without being able to see what happens 10 or 20 or 100 feet out in the field, how the roll of the landscape shifts, what happens as the distant mountains appear, what opportunities the corn rows may offer and a hundred other changes, I had a feeling of unfinished business, and I was reluctant to accept what the convenience of the public roadside offered. Of course, I had come here because it seemed the ideal place from which to catch the passing storm.

P.S. Anyone familiar with the wisdom of Derszu Uzala in the film of the same name may recall his comment that the birds always begin to sing just before the storm ends. Close examination of the above photo will show the birds are active.