Once in a while I find myself wandering around by the railroad tracks, a place my mother always told me to stay away from. Easy for a mom to say, but railroads are fascinating.
This is an eclectic collection of rail photos, from trains going by, to individual engines, to close-ups of details. The locomotive photos were taken in Galveston, Texas where Burlington Northern has a storage yard with near 150 locomotives .
The other photos were grabbed at various small yards or waysides near home or along the way when traveling. I have plenty of pictures, so this is just the first group. Enjoy!
For whatever reason, I like to go wandering through cemeteries with my camera. One of the things I find fascinating are the older sections of the graveyards with their old gravestones. Almost every funeral includes the words "not to be forgotten" or something similar. But alas, over the years we do forget.
Most of these photos are of headstones from the 19th century. There is no one alive to remember them. It's likely that many of their families do not even know where these graves are. Stones are tumbled or broken, fences are askew, and, in some instances, the cemetery's "perpetual care" has faltered. But the stones tell their stories. Sic transit gloria.
There is an old family cemetery nearby that dates back to the mid-1800s. It fell into disrepair sometime after its final burial in 1942.
A number of years ago someone tried to mark each grave with a white cross, a gallant, but ultimately futile effort. The forlorn old crosses are still there, a haphazard array among overgrown bushes, weeds and gloomy Spanish moss.
And like most old graveyards, this one has a woeful and melancholy feel. Yet there are comic touches, such as a misplaced milk jug, that make you smile through the gloom.
I tried to capture both the pathos and the humor of the place in my photos.
Why Monochrome? Why on earth would I want a gallery of black and white photographs when color is so glorious? After all, over the years the world has worked hard to get away from seeing photos and movies and TV and all the other things in black and white.
So why monochrome images? Why now take that color away? Why go back in time?
When the color is removed from the photo, it allows your focus to be put elsewhere. Without color in the way, connecting to the emotion of the image becomes simpler and more direct. And monochrome images tend to bring interesting textures and details to the fore.
Also monochrome can be a natural choice when the subject matter just screams to be presented in a retro or vintage manner – think about an old house or car or the small town Main Street that hasn't changed in decades.
More philosophically we can, by definition, consider a black and white photograph to be an abstraction. With color removed, an accurate representation of the original subject matter ceases to exist. The image becomes more notional and conceptual.
There is an elemental appeal in this abstraction. It allows me to capture images of snippets of things without worrying about context or verisimilitude.And once in a while it is just fun to be different.
There are many photos that work well in both color and monochrome, and some of the photos here have already been displayed in color. You may have seen some of them. But I venture to say that seeing the same image in both color and monochrome will elicit two different experiences.
It is my hope that without color to get in the way, these images allow you to enjoy the beauty and subtle nuance that monochrome photographs can convey. And I hope that one or two will perhaps even delight you.