I am drawn to architecture, especially historic. I've enjoyed art, landscapes, antiques, old houses, and small towns my entire life. The history of Tyler County is both amazing and sometimes depressing. My family purchased a farm in Middlebourne in 1969. The family photo album contained nameless faces and locations that documented the lives of countless family members. With no descendents of the family who lived on the farm, the photographs were certainly destined for disposal. I found the albums not only fascinatingly beautiful in themselves, but the photographs of the nameless faces merited exploration. Once I started to research the photographs, I found family cemeteries and links to others whose families were rooted in Tyler County. The family cemetery, located at Fairview Church in Middlebourne served as the starting point of my over 40 year quest for exploration.
When I discovered the Tyler County Museum in Middlebourne, I expected to see an average small town museum . I was completely fascinated by the extensive collection of beautifully preserved historical treasures. I found it to be one of the most fascinating museums in the country. The Tyler County Farm located on the fairgrounds stood as another magnificent structure...The caring people of Tyler County are working hard to preserve their historic treasures. It is quite evident by looking at the projects being taken on by 'ON TRAC' and 'TYLER ALIVE' two groups of dedicated and caring people who work together to preserve what is a vital part of Tyler County history.
In many parts of Sistersville, historic buildings are crumbling. It's clear that buildings survive when human beings care about them, and they fail when they are ignored, when no one cares to preserve them. Gravity, nature, and brick-thieves take their toll. It reminds me that nothing is permanent. These buildings have been around longer than I have. If someone cares for them, they can last centuries. They will not and cannot last forever. Buildings are seen as something more permanent than our mere flesh and bones.
One of the things I do with my camera is document history. In the sadness and anger I feel when I see structures left to destruction, I also see a certain renewal.. I know that in a way this is like seeing the beauty in what can be renewed, restored and cared for like a fine piece of artwork . Perhaps that's part of my love for it.
I have begun to carry my camera with me everywhere I go. I can find beauty in the most secluded spots and find peace in structures and landscapes Sometimes I find something as simple as a spider web covered with droplets of morning dew or the hauntingly beautiful images a stormy sky can conjure.. It is almost like visiting an old friend and listening to the stories they tell. The images I capture are, in my opinion, glorious, stunningly beautiful, and haunting. I love how sunlight seeps through holes in boarded up windows, how structures stand proudly , how roofs show wear and let moisture inside, how trees and flowers become poetry . The buildings are unmistakably alive. The landscapes are in a constant state of seasonal changes. Paint peels away, revealing brick and plaster underneath. Gray dust settles over everything but when the dust is blown away, the beauty is still there. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I do. Let us not destory the past with a bulldozer's rath. Let's instead join together and preserve structures and landscapes that can be enjoyed for many years.
Terry Wiley joined Pixels.com on September 26th, 2009.