As Hurricane Irene showed us by washing away covered bridges in the state of Vermont, history we thought would always be around can disappear in seconds. This gives more importance to the photographers who document such structures and relics, whether professionally or as a hobby. For this photo essay, we spoke with David Land, a Connecticut-based photographer who published a book called Textures of My New England. Here he shares some of his photographs taken in Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut along with tips for capturing such compelling images. By looking at them, we are reminded to pay attention to the simple pieces of the past all around us.
An essential farm tool, the old farm cart (above) speaks volumes about the simplicity of working the land. David recommends shooting all photographs in color and then using the photo editing software on your computer to create your shot in black and white. “By shooting in color,” he explains, “you have a far greater depth of contrast created by the color than by letting your camera decide how to process the shot into black and white. Take control wherever possible from your camera. You know what you want and the camera doesn’t.”
"Carry a lens that will go from wide angle to telephoto," says David. "That way, you don’t have to worry about changing the lens to capture the image you want."
It’s hard not to wonder what stories this barn could tell. By simply capturing one side of it, David suggests there is more to know.
By focusing on these barn doors, David guides the eye to see so much more. The photograph makes us appreciate the texture and intricacy of simple barn doors.
Here, David used the sun to create a very dramatic image, adding grandeur to a simple farm building.
"Sometimes your feet are the best zoom," says David. "Don’t plant yourself in one place and just start clicking. Move around to find the best angle to shoot." For this photograph, David wanted to capture both the unique characteristics of the fence as well as the unusual long-haired cows in the background so he had to walk up and down the fence line looking for the best angle to capture both.
The many textures captured in this image—the fence, the rooftop, the trees, the grass—provide the viewer with an almost sensory experience.
All photographs by David Land.