I’ve never explored the beautiful Delaware Gap region where the Delaware River cuts through the Appalachian Mountains between PA and NJ much. So time to check one off the bucket list. The national park area has an interesting history and recent past. First used as an area by native American tribes, then the Dutch established mines in the area (hence the main road’s name “Old Mine Road”), some of which are still visible. The British established small forts along the river here during the French and Indian War on the “frontier”. There are still houses throughout the area dating from the 1700 and 1800′s. In 1960, the government bought several thousand acres of land and evicted 15,000 residents and several towns because it was going to build a dam and flood the area. The dam was never built and the government eventually created a park with the purchased land. The towns and homes throughout the area remain abandoned and falling into ruin.
So, my good friend and model, Caitie, and I set on a recent Fall day to explore the area and see what abandoned places we could find. We found a variety of places to shoot – old barns, homes…ranging in age from 1800′s, early 1900′s and as late as the 1940′s. It was very surreal. Some places looked relatively intact and you got the feeling like you were in a tableau like “The Walking Dead”, with the people just recently left. It was obvious some of the homes people were using to squat in – with mattresses on the floor and old furniture laying about.
We found this one home built in the 1940′s with beautiful wood floors and paneling and early linoleum floor with interesting patterns, and holes in the ceiling, and a recent jar of spaghetti sauce just sitting full and unopened in the kitchen. I saw this one bedroom with an interesting patterned floor, an old mattress and lamp and nicely lite by two windows. Catie found a broom (oddly enough) and swept the mattress and we arranged the room with it and an old lamp. We started shooting some standing poses to get the light, and, then Catie fell into this squatting pose - kind of part reverie, part despair, staring into space and then looking up at me as if surprised by my intrusion. I thought it very nicely captured the mood of the moment as shown in these three images. As we left the house we wondered about the mystery of the spaghetti jar, and if the squatter’s would come back to find that we had swept their room and appreciate it….or complain that we had moved the furniture around.