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  • Writer's pictureDana Butler

The Most Afraid I've Been

From January 19, 2021

This was the most genuinely afraid I have ever been while photographing an abandoned property. Obviously I’m still a newb at this, as my 10-year-old would say, but my word.

Imagine walking onto a property with a solid 8 or 10 outbuildings and small barns rotting in the backyard.

You think the property’s long abandoned, but then you hear movement. A door creaks open.

Your head jerks around. Takes you a few seconds to realize — it was the wind. These doors have been swinging back and forth in the breeze for a solid 50 years, most likely.

You shoot some pics, keep on exploring, but now you’re jumpy and every little noise has you looking over your shoulder. You feel like you’re maybe being watched. You work hard to convince yourself it’s your imagination.

You peer through open doors into dark buildings, trying to see whether anything looks recently used. So many shadows.

Then you realize you’re stepping on something... Turns out you’ve found your way into a whole mini-field of daffodils, or tulips maybe (you wish you knew your flower buds better), coming up back here year after year for who the heck knows how long.

In all this ancient discarded wood and nails, all this overgrown brush... this annual, silent, unassuming beauty. And who knows if anyone but God and the birds ever sees it?

So you capture it as best you can, to document it, to honor its small existence in some tiny way.

You walk slowly away, and gosh that place is gorgeous. And not actually scary at all. (Well... maybe a little.)

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