Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hanover Hill Autumn

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  Many of the photographs I take are initiated by a tacit, "Once upon a time," and because they are photographs that capture an instant, there is often little narrative to color the melancholy initiated by that well-worn phrase. For me the melancholy of Hanover Hill Farm connects to the years in which my camera and I skirted its borders to catch its distant gloom, and to the years after the barns burned when I could get onto the property for angles on the ruins. This one was taken in December of 2011, and I recall the walk and my hope to capture a sunrise or sunset shot from this wrinkle in the corn field. Just at this point the land dipped and the wall permitted a view of the ruined house. I never did catch it in sunset or sunrise light before it was bulldozed. My "Once upon a time..." was filled only with land, houses and barns that clearly proclaimed something large and earnest once went on here, something that would have grabbed the attention of all passers by. That it was distantly visible from surrounding hillsides enlarged its mysteries. Occasionally I struggled to write down my, "What if's."

A year ago I received a call from a gentleman inquiring if I had any photographs of the farm. I guess he was a cattleman, knew the history of Hanover Hill and Peter Heffering who ran it. How between 1968 and 1973 Peter Haffering rented the property and established himself as a legend in breeding Holstein cattle, before taking his operation to Canada. The gentleman had contacted me seeking a suitable photograph as a personal memorial to Heffering's work. For him, this was sacred property. For me, learning a bit of the story and learning of the man's reverence deepened the colors of my, "Once upon a time..." though the image was already fixed in a place apart from Heffering's Hanover Hill.

You can read more about Peter Heffering and Hanover Hill: here.


Ginnie said...

I love the way you write about your images, Ted. You really could write photo books of all these places!

Emery Roth II said...

Thank you, Ginnie. Your comment is most appreciated. Over the years I have become more serious about the text accompanying each image, and it is often finding the right text that delays my posts.

You also write well, and I have a hunch you know that the tough part is getting down to honest thought and language. For me it is always a process of refining and simplifying, thuogh that may seem at odds with some of my sentences which are anything but simple. Hmmm. That's not quite the honest truth. Most often that hardest part is the first words. Then one only has to stay honest, not find honesty.