Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Church Facade




PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Sometimes a photograph gets so tied up with its subject that I'm not sure where one stops and the other starts. I am awed at the elegant simplicity of the details and refined proportions of this crumbling church. They speak to me clearly though I'm powerless to explain in words what I feel. I've sought to photograph the church so as to highlight those virtues in the hope that the photograph can convey my feelings as powerfully as the building itself.  

The big Church across the street was just seven years old in 1832 when this church was built. The two churches and the general store give form to the town's triangular green. What issues prompted the need for two meeting halls in what was at the time a small, frontier river town? What issues divided the congregants or brought them together?  Their buildings were so different, this one  modest, unassuming, forthright; the other, an exuberant white "wedding cake" of a spire. Who can engage them in dialogue or retell their stories?

I'm not religious nor am I quick to march.  The image calls neither to my sense of god nor country, but only to my sense of beauty. If the integrity and humility of the design is a reflection of its builders, then, in a sense something of the fiber of the men still holds services there, though pews are rotting, the lectern, mute, and the truth of the men's lives, unknown.