Abandoned, hollowed-out, dilapidated and abandoned houses stand in a strange solitude amidst vast empty landscapes, resembling the only vestiges of civilization for miles. In his new series “Thin Places”, the photographer Brendon Burton captures modern American ruins exuding a sense of seclusion in their rural setting. Each hints at their own sad story of loss. What happened to these houses and their former occupants?
Burton, who stumbles upon most of these places on his travels, can offer no answer, though he occasionally walks around his subjects to find that they have since perished without a trace, seemingly erasing all of them. existence. One is a wooden farmhouse next to two trees, surrounded on all sides by lush green crops. “The substation fire here in Oregon burned down this abandoned house and 70,000 acres of land just a month after taking this photo,” he said. Monster children.
The Portland, Oregon-based photographer photographed abandoned places since 2011. For “Thin Places”, each property has been filmed with a drone to fully capture how isolated they are. Burton says it’s the liminality of the spaces that attracts him. They exist somewhere between the past and the present, maybe even somewhere between this realm and another.
“There is a Celtic concept about places that seem strangely magnetic, ”Burton explains. “They say that the sky and the Earth are only one meter apart, but in thin places, this distance is even shorter. Abandoned houses are a perfect example of this phenomenon. These places are at the intersection of archeology and fantasy, and you can visit these sites but you can never get the whole story. So curiosity keeps bringing me back. What drives people to leave and what keeps things going? How much life is he left with?
Burton’s own childhood on a rural Oregon farm informs much of his subject matter. A thread of melancholy Americana runs through his work, which he photographs houses that resemble archaeological studies threatened with collapse or portraits in misty forests. Most of his footage begins with road trips through the sparsely populated countryside, where he and his friends often enter empty buildings and sort through the belongings left behind by the last who lived there. Burton enjoys immersing himself in every setting before taking photos, capturing its emotional essence and using that feeling to set the photos in place.
Burton’s parents put a disposable camera in his hands when he was just six, but he started taking photography seriously at the age of sixteen, when he acquired his first digital SLR camera. An early focus of conceptual photography has shifted over time to be more documentary in nature. “I guess my style lately has been a mixture of The children of the corn with vaguely “Post-nuclear fallout exploration,” said Burton My modern encounter in 2017. “I’m so obsessed with adding ambiguity to my work now, if I can come up with more than one storyline behind the image, I’ve succeeded.”
Burton will be heading to the Appalachians soon for a new set of photos. Follow his evocative work by following on Instagram @burtoo.
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