St. John’s Church, King William, West Entrance, 2003
When I returned to photography and started embracing digital processing, I took a lot of pictures of old things and old places. When you’ve seen one or two old wooden planks or worn brick walls, though, you’ve seen about all you probably want to see of old wooden planks and worn brick walls. So I tried to do something different with them.
The result was a series of photographs in which I played with the light. In fact, it was pretty much my modus operandi throughout 2003 and into 2004. I didn’t want the places I photographed to look unnatural or over processed. But I did want it to portray a little more sense of place than would have been represented in a shot that hadn't been retouched slightly.
A friend of mine and her husband have a farm up near Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Rob raises cattle and Lois tends an ever expanding range of floral gardens. During the summer of 2003 Lois invited me up to dig out as many day lilies from her garden as I could fit into my station wagon. (She had acres of them, and I’m a sucker for free plants.)
The quickest way to get to Rob and Lois’ farm from my home is by Interstate highway. But I preferred to take a much slower route of country roads and “blue highways.” While passing through King William County, I stopped to photograph St. John’s Church, a structure dating to the mid-1730s.
I don’t want to make light of history. But buildings like this are not all that rare in Virginia. There’s hardly a rural county without a church or courthouse that dates back to the 1700s. In short, we’re long on old wooden planks and worn brick walls. And I’m hardly the first photographer to have wandered by to take pictures of them.
Photographer Bob Krist, whose work I'd long admired before I even knew who he was, did a wonderful book called Spirit of Place for those interested in travel photography. The title pretty much describes the focus of the book. It also described what I was trying to do with St. John’s Church.
St. John’s Church, King William, North Facade, 2003
St. John’s Church, King William, Approach, 2003