Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Remembered in Goshen



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  It was probably sometime in 2010, wandering in Goshen, when I discovered this farm. It was no longer in operation, and I spoke to the owner about his plans. There were men running earth movers in this field, but he said he intended to continue farming here though he lived elsewhere. He gave me permission to walk the property and photograph. He told me about the crumbling graveyard in the middle of the field behind me, and though I went back several times afterward, I never saw him again.  The detailing on the barn was crude, but I liked the bold proportions of the two cupolas, like no others I've seen. Because overstated, they work especially well in silhouette. The lower level was flooded, but the owner told me he hoped to save it.  When I went by this fall all the barns were gone.

I could have removed the power lines from this image and have done as much in other images, but such wires are a common feature of farmland, and I liked their relation to the local pole beside the barn. Was it put there in 1914 to bring the first electricity from the new Housatonic power grid in Falls Village. This was a family farm, and from the rambling sprawl of the house, I suspect it encompassed several generations. Usually I know something of the history of barns I photograph, but I know nothing of this one, and now it's gone. I must make a pilgrimage to the cemetery to see if the names are legible now.  

I can still hear one photo instructor asking me why I bother to take such photographs. I dunno.  I just do. Perhaps it's just for the record.



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