Photographed on 11/25/2022-11/26/2022
Published on 3/19/2023
So this one has an interesting backstory. For the photography final "Making not Taking" assignment I had several ideas which I scrapped along the way as I shaped what I wanted the project to look like. I had finished the initial batch of photos which I took on the Blue Ridge Parkway (you can find them here) but was not wholly satisfied with submitting just those. I had planned to go to several quiet, abandoned locations I considered deeply personal to me, but only ended up going to the bridge on the parkway, and back to my home in Davie County, North Carolina.
By the time I took these photos I had intended them to mirror the set of photos from the parkway as I wanted to present both of them as a dual project. Ultimately, I decided it would be best to let the pictures I chose for the final to stand on their own, but the composition of these still does reflect the composition of the other final images. You can see in the way the curve of the railroad is captured compared to the curve of the parkway bridge for example.
I wanted to capture the feeling of coming home and revisiting old stomping grounds with these. They were given a warm, clear look to contrast the grainy and cool tones of the other set of photos. I went to an abandoned reservoir on the edge of town I used to visit with friends. I had not been there with anyone in quite some time and reflected on my growth as an individual.
Next, I went to my old high school. It was built a long time ago and our county had a decades long political feud about building a new one. Eventually we did build a new school, much to the chagrin of elderly taxpayers. As happy as the new school made parents, my classmates, and myself, I couldn't help but feel the new school lacked a certain charm and edge that the old school had to it. The school administration was so afraid of students causing damage to the new walls that no decorations were allowed on the stark white walls.
I guess this series helped me to reflect on my past and the history of the place I grew up in. I moved to Davie County when I was in the 5th grade, and most of my memories of childhood and friends are from there. It is a poor, conservative county reflective of much of rural America and the small towns I have spent much of my life in. I used to wonder why my far more mature and aware friends didn't like living there, and at some point I gained the perspective to understand why. Davie County is not a great place, I do not delude myself into thinking otherwise, yet I still have a fond, bittersweet sentiment for it. Davie County isn't good, but we hope it can be better.
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