"Western American Barns" is a photographic celebration of abandoned barns and silos located in rural Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Author and photographer Marques Vickers' 200+ images spotlight over fifty structures set amidst a backdrop of panoramic mountain, turbulent river and sagebrush flatlands. Vickers' work was motivated by a Spring 2017 excursion into the profiled states.
The focus of Vickers' photography is to isolate the abandoned and frequently decaying remnants of a uniquely national architecture treasure. The author stresses in his preface that barns and silos represents a truer icon of the American rural tradition than film and media portrayed frontier and cowboy culture.
The author explains his personal fascination for the subject in the preface: "I became captivated by the shadows the structures cast on a changed frontier. American agriculture has become forever transformed by advanced machinery and technology. These remaining stately buildings represent a crossroads between traditional rural lifestyle and the effects of modernity."
"In several instances, timber framed structures are left to deteriorate organically into the landscape from which they were constructed. Some ultimately collapse into splinted heaps before dismantlement, weakened by their disintegrating structural support. Their corrosion is fully exposed to the camera lens' scrutiny, but does not necessarily translate into ugliness."
The photographic work is intended to showcase a distinctively American western architecture that still commands a distinctive aesthetic. The poetic simplicity of each construction represents to the author a dignified metaphor personifying the human aging process, particularly as each structure blends harmoniously into the natural surroundings.
The isolation and expansive landscape of the American northwest provides an evocative comparison to contemporary confined urban and suburban environments. The continuity of these utilitarian structures remains timeless in spite of their gradual deterioration.