Bobbie Rhea Daniels
BFA - Studio Art
My family recently moved and their new house had a lot of furniture left in the basement by the previous owner. While we were sorting through the treasure and trash, my mom unearthed a hope chest, patted the top of it and said to me, “Imagine the stories this thing could tell.” In that moment, I realized where my eccentricities come from and felt a little more sane knowing I was not the only person to have such thoughts.
I have been told by a few close friends that abandoned homes always looked haunted to them and made them feel uncomfortable – I usually feel upset. I envision the families they have housed, the good and bad times they have had, the storms these structures once protected them from, and the feeling of uselessness that must now invade these abandoned homes. This collection of monochromatic photographs is the output of all my thoughts and feelings about old, unwanted, unloved things. I am unable to cross paths with an abandoned home and not feel sad for it. I am learning that is not the most popular reaction.
When considering the history of these structures, one must also consider the region in which they exist. All of these homes are located in Southwest or Central Virginia in the counties of Montgomery, Bedford, and Botetourt; all places of rich history surrounding working-class individuals living simply. I do not know the exact history of most of these places, but I imagine the families who have lived in these homes were farmers, quarry workers, coal miners, mechanics, telephone operators, and factory workers. These people went to church, bought groceries, raised families, raised animals, had fights, laughed, cried, and lived.
Memories are attached to the places in which people have existed. Through these photographs, I hope you gain a better understanding of the lives and the experiences these structures now hold. I ask that you not see an abandoned home and think about ghosts, I hope you will instead choose to quietly celebrate that home and all it has survived.