What's In a Photograph? (1/26)

Posted on 01/26/2012 by Fritz Byers in What's In a Photograph?

If you missed the series introduction, you can read it here.

Bill Stagg, homesteader, in front of his barn, Pie Town, New Mexico. Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Look at this picture – look at it quickly, without reading anything – and then guess the year it was taken. You could guess any year in the last hundred or so, and (allowing for colorization) you’d have an equal chance of being right. And the same is true of the place – take away the mountains in the far distance, and this could be almost anywhere. Since the year the first wood-sided barn was built, all over the country, barns have been slumping and sliding into the landscape, nearly but never quite falling down. And the owners have been standing outside them, horses in hand, proud as can be. This is my land; these are my horses; this is my barn.

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