Abandoned Barn Near Cream Ridge New Jersey by Richard Lewis 2014 All Rights Reserved

Abandoned Barn Near Cream Ridge New Jersey by Richard Lewis 2014 All Rights Reserved

Recently more of my photographs contain a subject that I used to stay away from, old and abandoned buildings. Why they have suddenly become the darlings of my eye can be attributed to inspiration and evolution.


Over the last couple of years I’ve collaborated more and more with photographers and other artists who work with a wide variety of subjects and styles. Sharing our work, discussing techniques and even creating together has been very inspiring. Among these artists are several photographers who have created beautiful portfolios of abandoned buildings. 

Photography, I believe, is a solitary pursuit because like all art, the end product is the expression of an artist’s own vision. I still love to be alone in nature with my camera. It creates an intimate and direct connection with the landscape. Yet, collaborating with other photographers has opened me to their vision which is very inspiring. Collaboration should never lead to imitation. I’ve been asked where and how I shot a particular photograph and exactly how I processed it. If someone wants to recreate the actual image, just buy one of my prints. It would be a lot easier and I’d sure appreciate it. If you like something another artist is doing be inspired by it, and make it your own. Inspiration is the life blood of an artist’s growth. Seeking inspiration helps prevent getting stuck in a place where you are really good something, but ultimately that place limits your evolution as an artist.


I realize now that I did not give myself permission to photograph old and abandoned places because I wasn’t able to present them in my own voice. With the influence of some great photographers that I have the privilege to call friends, my artistic vision has evolved to a place were I found that voice. Photographing the relics humanity leaves behind preserves a sort of history. To me it tells a story of how we humans and the landscape interact with each other over time. I’ve become happy to seek out fascination in the eyesore and find a story in places they inhabit.

How I Did It – When photographing subjects like this it is important to find a context and a composition. Just sticking a camera towards an old building may not say enough if it is just another collapsing structure. While studying this scene I realized that the landscape around the old barn was as harsh and uninviting as the building itself. Using elements in the scene like the patchy white snow to balance the bright light on the side of the barn. I tried to create a balanced composition of a harsh place that, hopefully, holds the viewers interest. CLICK HERE FOR A DEEPER LOOK AT THIS IMAGE.