Flickr a Week 1: ‘Fairfield House 1078 D’

The new series starts with a gorgeous, prairie landscape taken by Jim Choate on May 13, 2017. He explains about capturing the moment: “What a lucky evening. I had spent several hours on backroads south of The Dalles, Oregon, unsuccessfully looking for photo opportunities, when I turned a corner and unexpectedly came across the lovely and often-photographed abandoned Fairfield house. The day had been dreary, gray, and drizzly, but the clouds in the West cleared for about 15 minutes while I took this photo”.

Jim’s perseverance preserves something that no one else can ever see. “This homestead burned to the ground in July [2018] in a huge prairie fire that devastated 78,000 acres”, he explains, referring to the Substation Fire. “Oregon lost one its most famous and loved abandoned places”.

He shot self-titled “Fairfield House 1078 D” using Nikon D610 and 50mm f/1.8 lens—presumably from a tripod. Vitals: f/13, ISO 400, 1/15 sec, 50mm.

Jim joined Flickr five years ago, and he explains about his tradecraft:

I like to think that I inherited my interest in photography from my grandfather, who was a professional photographer in Pierre, South Dakota. He developed his pictures at night in the basement of the town lumberyard, which he also owned and operated. Growing up in South Dakota gave me a fondness for open spaces and an appreciation of small towns with decaying relics of livelier times. Corrugated metal, rusty farm equipment, rotten wood, railroads, and wind swept prairies appeal to me.

Even after many years living in the Portland, Oregon area, I’m still overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and have so many nearby places to discover and photograph. I have a taste for the overly saturated colors and the melodrama of the 1960s and 70s (I love original Star Trek, Mario Bava, Italian Giallo, and Japanese New Wave cinema). So, if the colors and emotions of my photos seem exaggerated, that’s one reason why.

“Colors and emotions” are exactly why, among two-dozen early candidates, Jim’s prairie portrait takes the first spot in the new series.

Photo Credit: Jim Choate