Orphans

PhotographerDave Reichert
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountryPecos, United States
Photo Date2008-2010
Technical InfoDigital pigment prints
Story

Orphans is an ongoing project depicting found concrete objects of uncertain or unknown origin, whose associated wooden or steel structures have been removed. In the 1970s, while attending college, I stumbled across what I later learned were the remains of a decommissioned WWI rifle range in the woods of Rockland County, NY. Concrete walls, slabs, piers, tunnels, and small buildings were deeply embedded within a forest that had grown up around them in the years since they were abandoned. I began photographing these objects - their mystery, their isolation, and their uncertain purpose in the landscape drew me in. In the years that followed, I continued to discover more of these bereft objects; orphaned, separated from the structures they once supported. Some were on beaches, others hidden in forests or standing proudly and inexplicably in the middle of the desert. I’m no longer satisfied with finding these objects by chance encounters. For more than a year now, I’ve been actively seeking them out. Like the ancient monoliths, the original meaning and the true purpose of many of these artifacts will probably remain a mystery to me, but in my imagination, their form and their deliberate placement often suggest ritual use or artistic expression. Far from being merely the remnants or castoffs of disemboweled structures, these objects now influence the character of their surroundings – a clearing or stream bank becomes a potential grove; a hillside, the site of a monument or sculpture, and an open plain, a long forgotten gathering place.

Entry Description

Orphans is an ongoing project depicting found concrete objects of uncertain or unknown origin, whose associated wooden or steel structures have been removed. I began photographing them in the 1970s - their mystery, their isolation, and their uncertain purpose in the landscape drew me in. I’ve continued to seek out and discover more of these bereft objects; orphaned, separated from the structures they once supported. These artifacts now influence the character of their surroundings – a clearing or stream bank becomes a potential grove; a hillside, the site of a monument or sculpture; and an open plain, a long forgotten gathering place.

Story

Orphans is an ongoing project depicting found concrete objects of uncertain or unknown origin, whose associated wooden or steel structures have been removed. In the 1970s, while attending college, I stumbled across what I later learned were the remains of a decommissioned WWI rifle range in the woods of Rockland County, NY. Concrete walls, slabs, piers, tunnels, and small buildings were deeply embedded within a forest that had grown up around them in the years since they were abandoned. I began photographing these objects - their mystery, their isolation, and their uncertain purpose in the landscape drew me in. In the years that followed, I continued to discover more of these bereft objects; orphaned, separated from the structures they once supported. Some were on beaches, others hidden in forests or standing proudly and inexplicably in the middle of the desert. I’m no longer satisfied with finding these objects by chance encounters. For more than a year now, I’ve been actively seeking them out. Like the ancient monoliths, the original meaning and the true purpose of many of these artifacts will probably remain a mystery to me, but in my imagination, their form and their deliberate placement often suggest ritual use or artistic expression. Far from being merely the remnants or castoffs of disemboweled structures, these objects now influence the character of their surroundings – a clearing or stream bank becomes a potential grove; a hillside, the site of a monument or sculpture, and an open plain, a long forgotten gathering place.