Rolling Fork, Mississippi Landmark - The Big Red Barn - Gone Forever
"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson
During my travels while photographing the back roads of Mississippi I often come across places that for whatever reason seem to attract people to them. It might be the significance of where something is located or it might be that it triggers a particular memory or in my case it is something that I am drawn to photograph. One of those places was the large and amazing structure affectionately known as the Big Red Barn in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.
I've learned that when you see something that would make an interesting photograph there is no time like the present to take advantage of what is in front of you because you may never have that chance again. The Big Red Barn is one of those instances.
In January of 2007 I took the scenic route from Jackson, Mississippi by traveling over to Vicksburg and riding up Highway 61 as far as I could go before being forced by darkness to continue my trip home to New Albany. As I approached where the old highway went to the left into downtown Rolling Fork, I was going to turn but then noticed a rather large barn right in front of me. This was the first time I had ever been in this area and to see this large structure with the two grain silos rising above the flat land of the Mississippi Delta was quite amazing.
I photographed it from a couple of different angles since I didn't know when I would be back again. In 2011 I was back in the area and decided to get an updated photo since it was a different time of the year and I had heard that the US Corps of Engineers had purchased the property for some sort of educational use. Imagine my shock when discovering this was all that was left of the barn that had survived the sometimes nasty weather of the Mississippi Delta.I would later learn that high winds that occurred in late April would contribute to the demise of this landmark.
As in Bresson's quote at the beginning of this post, the Big Red Barn has vanished forever and it is never coming back. The damage was so extensive that the only solution was to finish tearing it down and disposing of the debris. The only thing remaining marking the location are the two silos you see at the back left of the photograph.
Fortunately, in 2007 I stopped and took the time to photograph the barn. It almost didn't happen because I was running short of time and told myself, "You will be back in the area again and then you can photograph it." I learned from this that if you find something you want to photograph, do it because there may not be a next time.
Here is the barn as photographed in January 2007. Of course, I've added a few special touches so it would be as I thought it would look with a stormy sky. It is titled appropriately, "Apocalypse." Prints are available.
Keywords: Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, barn, big barn, big red barn, photography, red, rolling fork
My parents were born and raised in Rolling Fork. My mother spent many a day with her Uncle Bernard Graft at that barn. It was on land owned by the Grafts. Beautiful artwork. Please let me know about the availability of prints. I know my mother would be thrilled to receive one!!!
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