Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Some Barns of Northeast Ohio


June 12, 2022

Wandering back roads yesterday, I saw a lot of barns.

1 I originally wrote as the caption for this photo: “Most farmers in Ohio grow only soybeans and corn. But in the past many kept dairy cows. I like the old barns with ramps for the cows to enter the building.” But I was wrong. This (June 12) morning I received an email from my childhood friend. She wrote: “Your barns of course are nice to see. Those ‘ramps’ of dirt leading up the the side of the barn (under the large double doors) are not for cows. The cows are in the lower level and enter at the end. Those doors open, and the tractor with hay wagon drives in. There is a pulley with large forks attached which is let down and grabs huge batches of hay off the wagon and then is pulled along a track to the side of the barn floor and opened, and the hay is dumped.  Someone up top with a fork kind-of hand distributes it around. Remember, I was a kid living on a farm and spent days in the haymow watching and sliding down those huge piles.” Thank you, Gerty!

2

3 Is the white siding a decorative touch or an unfinished project?

4

5

6

7 I photographed this barn in April 2017, too.

Some buildings display their history. There must at one time been a door to the left of this no-longer-functioning window.

The number and letter are new since 2017. Since the wall around the corner had an N below the 4, I think directions are indicated. A nearby outbuilding was marked with 3. I didn’t see any buildings marked 1 or 2.

10

11

12

13

27 responses

  1. A spectacular set of photos, Linda. I started a barn project and it’s one of the most satisfying I can remember working on. This area has quite a few old barns, some ready to fall down any day now, Still beautiful in their own way, though. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2022 at 9:44 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. I’m just amazed at the variety of barn styles. I’m sure you are, too. Wish I had seen more disintegrating ones on this trip, but I know they’re out there. Maybe I’ll see them on my next wander. Not that I want barns to fall apart, but if they’re going to do it anyway, I’d like to document their collapse. Did you see the extended caption on #1? My original understanding of the earthen ramp was wrong. Would love to see your barn project. Would love to see any of your photos. Come back, come back!

      Like

      June 12, 2022 at 10:21 AM

  2. Old barns are something I looked forward to when moving to Maine. These are beautifully captured. Any chance you knew the owner or were you just brave enough to explore on your own? I especially like the one with the truck tucked in.

    Like

    June 12, 2022 at 10:17 AM

    • Thank you, Joe. Glad you like the one with the truck. I had to block the end of someone’s driveway when I pulled off the road to take that photo. So I was a bit hasty taking it. I don’t know any of the owners. I took all the photos from my car window or standing at the edge of the road. Oh, except for #s 7 through 12. Hm. I might have been trespassing there. Not so much bravery as obliviousness and brazenness, I think. I probably wouldn’t have walked around the building if it had been near a farmhouse, but I could see none in the near vicinity. I wish you lots of good luck finding many good old barns in Maine.

      Like

      June 12, 2022 at 10:34 AM

  3. dorothy larsen

    I love your art.  Is there a face in the window in number 11? Sure happy to enjoy this part of your world. Have you made any wall hangings from any of the flowers? Hope you enjoy your year ending in zero.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2022 at 11:42 AM

    • Thanks, Dorothy. I don’t see a face in #11, and I’ve seen it much larger than this. If there had been a face, I wonder if its owner would have chased me off the property. I have not made any fiber art for years, I have to confess. The reward in terms of finishing a piece are so much faster in photography! Still, I have ideas for work with textiles. Just don’t know if I’ll get around to executing them before my next birthday that ends in zero. Thanks for your good wishes.

      Like

      June 12, 2022 at 12:25 PM

  4. Obviously intentional, I like the toothy appearance of the white section of number 3. Of course, it could be turned into a work in progress should the owner tire of the design.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2022 at 12:13 PM

    • Okay, one vote for intentional. I hope the owner does not tire of the design; I like the red part best. Thanks for writing, Steve.

      Liked by 1 person

      June 12, 2022 at 12:27 PM

  5. I like the zigzag pattern on the third one and the year on the roof in the fifth one. You may be interested to know that our modern word barn coalesced from an Anglo-Saxon compound that meant ‘barley house.’ It seems barley was the most commonly grown (and therefore stored) grain in England in olden times:

    https://www.etymonline.com/word/barn

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2022 at 4:52 PM

    • Thanks for the link, Steve. I am interested. I have now installed the extension on my browser. I’ve seen several barn roofs around here with dates on them. I think this is the earliest date I’ve seen.

      Like

      June 12, 2022 at 5:19 PM

  6. I love old barns…what a nice collection, Linda. #9 caught my eye, I think because of all the color in the window. I have probably said before, I got my first 35mm camera in college to document barns and houses in the cultural landscape; my professor wrote extensively about Ohio’s barns. The oldest ones show general settlement patterns, where people originated from, etc. Interesting in that way too, beyond the weathered wood, fading paint, and boarded up windows that we find so appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2022 at 8:15 PM

    • Thanks, Mic. It would be interesting to know how barns can tell stories. Also, beyond the weathered wood, fading paint, and boarded-up windows—as I told Ken—I enjoy the sheer variety of architectural styles. And after a hundred or so years, even the barns that may have looked alike at one point have differentiated themselves. You and I are lucky to be able to see so many in short drives.

      Liked by 1 person

      June 12, 2022 at 9:26 PM

      • Yes, the changes in form and function over the years of the barn’s existence become part of its story. A lot of the oldest barns and houses are gone. Back in the ’70s I could drive the back roads and find old log cabins and barns as well as half-timber buildings that are hard to find now.

        Liked by 1 person

        June 12, 2022 at 9:40 PM

        • Wish I’d done more wandering in the ’70s. I do remember my first abandoned silo from that era, though. It was in February, and I recall my shock at how cold it was when I had to insert a new roll of film. I hadn’t been aware of the freezing temperature while shooting. So that may also have been my first experience being “in the zone” while taking photographs.

          Liked by 1 person

          June 13, 2022 at 2:13 PM

          • I wish I’d kept more photos from that time period; and better records on the ones I have.

            Good recollection.

            Liked by 1 person

            June 14, 2022 at 10:43 PM

  7. Although there are barns all across the US, these seem midwestern, I don’t know exactly why. I’m not familiar with the ramps, that’s interesting. I love the ornamentation, intentional or not, on #3 and your head-on, centered composition makes it shine. #4, with the truck, adds something to the usual barn image. Suddenly it’s less an artifact and more a place where work is done. The barn in #5 & 6 is a beauty! #9 might be my favorite. There are so many mundane elements in it (those metal pieces, the weeds, the window repairs), all very graceful in their own way, and the yellow “4” throws everything off just the right amount. #10 & 11 are nice details but #9 does more for me. In #12 I think you chose exactly what to include to tell the story of age and entropy. Another great post, Linda. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    June 17, 2022 at 5:14 PM

    • Once again, Lynn, you help me look at my work more deliberately. Looking at these photos now—at a few days remove—I think #9 and to a lesser extent #12 are the only photos in this series where I exercised an attempt to create a composition that wasn’t just documentation of what was in front of me. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy finding all those barns and details of barns, but I do especially like the composing aspect of photography. I guess that’s why I like photographing in our groundskeeping yard so much. Urban areas often give me more opportunity, too. I think it may be time to see what I can find in one of the small towns around here. Thanks for your complimentary comments, Lynn, but even more for making me think more critically about these photos.

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      June 18, 2022 at 12:47 PM

      • I think about documenting vs. making an artistic image a lot – mostly not when I’m out there. 😉 There’s no question that I want to document certain things, like flowers that are new or unusual or blooming for the first time this year. But then I need to deliberately shift gears to make photographs that are more about composition, light, color, etc. I wonder about this mental gear-shifting – do I need to remind myself to do it more?
        Or you can go to a place where you know you’re less likely to document and more likely to make artistic images, like the urban areas you’re thinking about. and for sure, places like the groundskeepers’ area where serendipity rewards a good eye.

        I’ve also noticed that when I’m in a museum, especially an art museum, I’m primed to think more about all the artistic aspects of photography. The border between documentary work and artistic work becomes crystal clear in a museum because I have no interest in photographing someone’s art except purely as a reminder. When I’m outdoors the line can get blurry – I might be moved to document a plant and then try to “make it nicer.”

        I don’t think it has to be either/or – we probably agree that documentation has an important place – but for me anyway, it can be too easy to just record interesting things I see without going the extra distance (intellectually & emotionally) to make something more…what? Valuable, satisfying, noteworthy, etc.
        It’s good to have these discussions with you. 🙂

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        June 18, 2022 at 1:13 PM

        • There’s one way I frequently put this dichotomy, and I think I’ve said it before on this blog, but here it goes (again): “Will this be a photograph of an interesting thing? Or will it be an interesting photograph of a thing.” I want to produce more images that are the latter. You remind me that it’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a museum—or even looked online for photos made by the great photographers. It’s good to have these discussions with you, too, Lynn. Thanks for moving this one along.

          Like

          June 18, 2022 at 2:10 PM

  8. Like. Like. Super-like.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2022 at 3:54 AM

    • I’m so glad, Jessica. Thank you. I wonder if these barns look very different from the barns where you are in the UK.

      Liked by 1 person

      June 18, 2022 at 12:54 PM

      • Yes, very different. Ours are not half so colourful or characterful. I must look out for a couple of images of local English barns for you.

        Liked by 1 person

        June 18, 2022 at 2:53 PM

  9. It worked! The corrugated iron of the third barn is yummy. I’ve seen barns like it and your second one around here, too. But that first barn! How lovely! Like nothing I’ve seen here. It even has a tile roof. Thank you, Jessica.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2022 at 5:17 PM

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