These old structures, most no longer used, were for drying cut tobacco prior to sending it to market. The Piedmont Region of Southern Virginia and Northern North Carolina were famous for this type agriculture.
I love to make photos of old windows and doors. When windows are involved, I sometimes wonder what sort of people once looked out to where I was standing when I made the photo…who were they…young or old…rich or poor…sick or healthy. What I found especially interesting of this window was the cloth screen which had been installed…unlike the more common metal version. I suspect that takes this house back a long way.
I’ve driven past Jess Sours (is that a “southern” name or what) garage many times while going through Chatham, Virginia. It’s always been closed, but recently I decided to stop and capture it for my photo collection. While I was making several shots, I hear two men shouting at me from across the street to, “Come take our picture!” This was Sunday afternoon, and they had set up a car wash enterprise and were looking for business. Having none, they decided to see what I had to say. So, I went across the street, took their picture as requested, showed it to them on the camera’s LCD screen, and they asked me had I ever seen such good looking guys. I laughed with them and said, “Not today!” Friendly town for sure…Chatham.
Seeking new discoveries, I often drive without specific direction or plan, on one of my numerous road trips. It’s like beginning a brief journey at a point, with no end in mind, letting what comes along be a guide as to which direction to turn…left or right or straight ahead. Success is when one finds that the direction selected was correct, which in many cases brings joy and satisfaction. The main purpose of my unplanned journeys, each only a few hours long, is to find some scene, some object, some thing to fill the frame of my camera. Once captured through the lens, onto the camera’s digital sensor, the recorded image remains essentially hidden from complete inspection until later when it is transferred to a computer, and only then is it exposed in full view, with colors and details recorded as one hoped they might be…or not.
Whether the captured scene I view with great anticipation on my computer’s screen actually retained the same level of focus, detail, mood, or vibrant color my mind’s eye remembers is not as important as the fact that had it not been for that fateful turn left or right, on my unplanned road trip, which I decided on a whim, I would never have been able to see what I saw. And…I was the only person on this earth who saw it that way during the brief instant in time when my camera’s shutter clicked…and then it’s mine alone…forever…unless I care to share it with others…as I often do.
Yesterday as I was wandering around Uptown Martinsville, Virginia with my camera, checking out a new lens I just bought, this guy sees me and says, “Hey, I live uptown, can I help you find some good things to photograph?” I thanked him, explaining I was familiar with the town, and he quickly answers, “Then take my picture with my new shirt”, or words to that effect. So, I did. The guy was happy when I showed him the image on the camera’s LCD, but he complained with a smile that I’d cut his feet off in the frame. I told him I got his best part, and he laughed.
You absolutely never know what sort of “treasure” you might find, when on a photo road trip. Here’s a perfect example. This once proud streetcar probably carried happy passengers to and fro in some city in America. Eventually, it wound up in Chatham, Virginia and for a time served as a diner. Now, it’s sitting in a dark place between some old buildings in the center of the town, waiting for someone like me to come along and admire it for what it is.