The old barn in the city

It stands among vinyl-village suburban subdivisions, this old barn. 25 years ago it was all farm fields out here. But cities inevitably grow outward and swallow up whatever they find along the way.

The old barn in the city

Except this barn and a farmhouse that stands next to it. I’m not sure why; stubborn owner, perhaps. I can just imagine the fellow: “They can just build their danged houses all around me! I’m not going anywhere!”

The old barn in the city

This is Indianapolis, a city that merged with its county going on a half century ago. Within the old city limits, you’d recognize Indy as a city. Beyond, it is suburban and even rural. You’ll find many barns around the “city.” (I ought to do a photo series on them.) But this might be the only one that anchors a subdivision.

Nikon F2AS, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Foma Fomapan 100

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17 responses to “A barn in the city”

  1. Sam Avatar

    Awesome shots Jim! I love subjects like this old barn, they really lend themselves well to b&w photographs!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      This barn is gray/tan in color, so b/w seemed to make sense here.

  2. Richard Armstrong Avatar
    Richard Armstrong

    Nice Jim, I for one would love too a ‘Barn’ series of pic’s

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a project that’s been in the back of my mind for a couple years. Not sure this is the year for it — full dance card through autumn. Maybe next year.

      1. Ron Avatar

        Barns are cool, and there are still quite a few left. A project that I am slowly working on is shooting old, wooden, one-room church buildings. They are thinning out, even in the Bible belt.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          What a great project, and important. Glad you’re doing it.

  3. Mike Avatar

    You got everything just right with that middle shot. I like the sombre tones, the fine-grained textures and the grey sky. Keeping the picture plane perfectly vertical effectively conveys the solidity of the construction and emphasizes the strong perspective which ties together the main compositional elements. The overall effect resembles a finely executed charcoal drawing, yet we know the entirety of the scene was captured in a fraction of a second — which is what makes photography such a marvelous medium.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Mike, so much, for saying so. I think the busy details in this subject lent themselves well to this film and lens.

      One thing I’ve worked on over the past few years is holding the camera at the angle I want. Maybe it’s easy for others, but it’s been a challenge for me. I’ve had to learn to scan the entire frame and judge whether I’ve found the plane I’m looking for. It’s starting to really pay off.

  4. DougD Avatar

    Nice, we have an old barn close by our place, which was built in the mid 60s.

    That’s one of the nice things about the UK, the lack of urban sprawl. The town stops here, and that’s where the country begins..

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have a screed in me somewhere about sprawl. The short version:

      When I first started coming to Indianapolis in the 80s, Hamilton County (the county just north of Marion County / Indianapolis) was all cornfields. Then the office buildings came. Then the stores. Then the subdivisions. And then the main road through Hamilton County became stoplight city. The state is busy now rebuilding the whole thing to have grade separated intersections with roundabouts.

      I had a job in Hamilton County ten years ago. Used to drive up a back road to get there. I saw deer all the time on my morning drive. Almost hit a couple with my car.

      There are strip malls, churches, and lots of houses all along that way now.

      I miss the deer.

  5. […] via A barn in the city — Down the Road […]

  6. pesoto74 Avatar

    It is interesting that it still has a cupola. Most barns had one at one time, however they are fairly fragile and tend to be the first thing to go. Looks like this one had been maintained until the last twenty or thirty years. I don’t imagine that it will happen, however it would be nice if it could be preserved. Right now it looks like it would just take some paint and some work on the roof to keep it going for another twenty years or so.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Some work has been done to stabilize it a little; note the lighter (new) wood on the one wall. I’m with you, I hope more work is done to preserve it.

  7. NeverWriter Avatar

    I live in Lawrence. We’ve got barns. I’ve even seen a few on Pendleton Pike. Some parts of Lawrence and Oaklandon feel like hey never left the early 1960s

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yeah, Oaklandon! I’ve been over that way a couple times. Definitely feels like a step back in time.

  8. CharityGoodwinUS Avatar

    Hello. I enjoyed your blog and photo of the gray barn. I, too, have an appreciation for family barns, those that have stood through a few generations of farming. Because of an affinity I have for Century barns, and grandparents that gained their ethics through dedicated agricultural life, I posted an oil painting in respectful honor of a heritage that many of us share. Thank you for sharing your views and photo.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by!

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