Archive for farm

Cabinwood revisited.

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by brettvanort

These were taken a while ago.  The very end of September to be exact.  I’ve been neglecting quite a bit of late, wrapped up with the exhibition my final project and everything, I’ve nearly forgotten about certain photographs I took this summer.  Now that the exhibition is hung and on the wall, I want to revisit the other projects I pursued this summer.  Hopi, Rest Areas, whatever else I managed to cram in, I’m focusing on that while I’m also trying to hustle for work.  I figure I will have enough to keep me occupied for a little while.

One last look before it would be gone.

I’ll start with a couple from Cabinwood.  The day after I took these the house was to be leveled completely, the logs were to be sold off for a total of $3000 I’ve heard.  It’s a shame but there is not a lot that can be done.  What’s interesting is the guy that will be removing the logs will also set up a deer blind on the property and pay our family $500 for every deer he bags with a bow and arrow.  While I was there, there were deer everywhere.  I counted 7 or 8 at one point while I was trudging around at dusk with my camera.

You can see two deer to the left of the creek bank middle frame. The others scampered away.

I felt I little more at ease this visit.  The shock of seeing what used to be so heavily canopied not open to the sky was the strangest thing at this point.  The above photograph would have been just a green and brown thicket with no sky prior to the tornado.  I’ve decided that on every visit I will shoot from the same spots and see how the land transforms slowly back to a forest.  Will it take 20 years?  30?  50?  Will I ever see it the same way that it is in my mind when I recall it?  It brings up a host of questions about memory and how it relates to photography, and memory and how it relates to landscape.

There used to be a hedgerow here.

Murfreesboro revisited

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by brettvanort

Got back from Murfreesboro two days ago.  I was there for too short a period of time.  I arrived on Friday late and left on a Tuesday early and got back to London on Wednesday early.  I’m still a bit jet lagged and yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t tell if I was in Nashville, London, a plane or all three at one time.

Seeing Cabinwood really was like a kick in the stomach.  Pictures really can’t do justice to what happened.  I wasn’t exactly prepared for how I would feel, what it would look like, how I would react to seeing the rest of my family there.  Thank God the Nelson’s have a wacky sense of humor.  Everyone seems to be taking it in stride and dealing with the reality of the situation rather well.

Looking downstream at the creek that runs through Cabinwood.

Looking downstream at the creek that runs through Cabinwood.

Elle at Creek before after

Eleanor had to stay in London.

The photographs on the right are of course what things look like today.  I couldn’t get the exact framing of any of these shots as the water level is so high.  They’ve had an awfully wet May in Tennessee but I think you get an idea of the tree cover that was lost.The hay bales were stacked by the city to prevent erosion.  There were many damns created in the creek by the tree debris that gathered in spots.  There was a sense of openness created by the lack of trees.  It was a strange feeling, to see the sky in this world that is usually so densely forested in my mind.  I’ve never been to Brazil, but I felt the sense that I was on the outskirts of a rain forest that had just been logged.  I kept trying to remember distinct trees when I looked at the stumps remaining.

A logger told Johnny this was the biggest Eastern Cedar he'd ever seen.

A logger told Johnny this was the biggest Eastern Cedar he'd ever seen.

But I couldn’t remember singular trees.  This cedar is a great example of what I mean.  If someone that makes their living off of trees says that this could be the largest specimen he’s ever seen of this particular tree then it surely must have made an impression on me.  I was aware in all my journeys to Cabinwood how great the place was in its natural setting.  But I couldn’t grasp what these trees looked like singularly.  I could only precieve the trees as a collective.  It might seem a simple idea, why would I know one tree from another?  There isn’t really a reason why I should.  But I found it strange how I could only think of the trees, and the farm as their collective whole and not individual parts.  I guess it gives a whole new meaning to the saying seeing the forest for (through) the trees.

Murfreesboro Tornado

Posted in Murfeesboro Tornado, Personal with tags , , , on April 11, 2009 by brettvanort

Yesterday a tornado touched down in Murfreesboro, TN.  The farm house that my mother grew up in, that I visited almost every summer as a child, that my uncle Johnny lived in and was slowly trying to fix up was hit by the tornado.  

The trees behind the house are gone now.  The roof is supposedly gone over the back side of the house.

The trees behind the house are gone now. The roof is supposedly gone over the back side of the house. Photo from 2006.

My uncle Harry, who built his own house just down the lane from the main farm house, had his house damaged as well.  As did my uncle Andrew.  His house, just across the creek supposedly has some roof damage.

My wife Eleanor takes in the surroundings of the creek I played in endlessly as a kid.

My wife Eleanor takes in the surroundings of the creek I played in endlessly as a kid. Photo from summer 2006.

All of the trees in the creek bed above have been uprooted as well.  Johnny can see all the way to Andrew’s house across the creek.  The buffer of trees used to block the view of the houses across the creek is no longer there.  

View looking downstream from the creek.

View looking downstream from the creek.

My cousins and I would wade through the creek.  As we grew older the trips got shorter in length as more and more houses spread down to the banks of the creek on either side of the farm.  Now the only wilderness in the area, the farm had deer in the creek with regularity.  When I was young there were never any deer on the farm or in the creek bed .

 

Strange that this was out of focus but I think it gives a greater sense of the tree canopy around the farm that has now been lost.

Strange that this was out of focus but I think it gives a greater sense of the tree canopy around the farm that has now been lost.

My mother is on her way there now.  My uncles say the farm house has too much damage and must be demolished.  I almost wanted to fly there to see it for myself.  But I think I am going to stay here.  Eleanor and I have decided that we will go there at some point this summer and buy and plant a few trees on the property.  I can of course be thankful that none of my family are hurt or injured as the tornado killed two in the area and injured scores more.  But there is a sense of loss I feel regardless.  I also really want to photograph what it looks like now although I feel it might be very painful.

View from the back garden behind the main farm house.  I wonder if the statue is still there.

View from the back garden behind the main farm house. I wonder if the statue is still there.

I have only one photograph of the main house that I know of that is in color.  I may have more negatives somewhere.  This one below is cross processed, therefore the strange color scheme.

I think this is from year 2000 or maybe 1999.

I think this is from year 2000 or maybe 1999.

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