Proof Of Life


If you have been following my work you already know that photographing abandoned structures (and old things) is an obsession of mine! It’s been that way for a long time … since my photography beginnings. Today, many share the same interest whether photographing or exploring. One of the locations depicted here is the remains of an old mining town, high in the mountains. The ghost town, Animas Forks (near Silverton, Colorado) attracts a a steady flow of of tourists, jeeps and off-road vehicles during the summer months. People are curious about how the miners and their families lived and have fun exercising their imaginations. Efforts to support the buildings are underway in Animas Forks but elsewhere many are collapsing. Most of the buildings I find are not in a town at all but nestled among the trees, situated precariously on the slope of a mountain or fenced in on ranch land. Many structures were only used for a short time and often very simply built. The natural materials and harsh winters aid in returning them to the earth, hastening their demise. So here, before they’re gone, I present a collection of images to document and ponder.

‘The Neighbors’ © Denise Bush
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‘Once Upon A Time’ © Denise Bush

‘Broken Dreams’ © Denise Bush
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(Can you see Tinkerbell?)

‘Mountain Shelter’ © Denise Bush
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‘Cabin Close-up’ © Denise Bush

‘Cabin Beside Aspens’ © Denise Bush
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‘Three Windows’ © Denise Bush
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‘Mining Days Relic’ © Denise Bush

‘Tilted’ © Denise Bush

‘Swayback Barn’ © Denise Bush

‘Flowers By The Door’ © Denise Bush
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‘Shack Among Aspens’ © Denise Bush

‘Through Yonder Window’ © Denise Bush
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55 Responses to “Proof Of Life”

  1. 1 Judy Hazen

    What a beautiful collection of photos! I’ve visited many abandonded mining towns doing research for my family history book and often see very professional looking photographers taking shots…but these are especially nice. Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving. Judy

    • Thank you Judy. I saw a special the other night on PBS that talked about ghost towns and Animas Forks. I love hearing about the history as well as exploring and shooting.

  2. 3 Chuck Carstensen

    Animas Forks is so photogenic. Good work. Thanks.

    • Thanks very much Chuck. The first and last are from Animas Forks. There were quite a few other people milling around when we were there. Nice to hear from you!

  3. Yeah, yeah, yeah we know you are into abandoned buildings. Heck, you are one of the people who inspired me to head into ruined places to find the stories. What I see here isn’t just nice Denise Bush old wood, but really finely composed images that transcend the subject to become works of art. The window photographs are particularly interesting. Well done!!!

    • Thank you Rich! I am pretty particular about what I shoot and my goal is always to produce art … art that speaks to me and hopefully others. (But wait, are you calling me ‘old wood’ in your comment?) 🙂

  4. Superb as always! I especially love the technique of shooting through the windows and doors. The framing gives a different perspective on the scene.

    • Thanks very much Pat. I love it when I can find windows and doors to use as frames. And I love hearing from you so please do continue to keep in touch!

  5. I can see taking pictures of old/abandoned structures/buildings can give a different feeling than finding beautiful sceneries. Seeing them and getting close to them are an adventure in and of itself. They are also not common to be found as well. You captured these places beautifully!

  6. Wonderful series, Denise. I always enjoy and admire your work. I believe what you said to Rich Lewis about your goal is to always produce art. These images are certainly examples of that. Well done.

    • Thank you Ken. I often process just to see the end result … if after that I’m not feeling it, I don’t show it. I’m glad you see the art!

  7. 13 Deb

    Beautiful Denise. And yes, I saw Tinkerbelle right away!! I love this subject too, you do capture it so wonderfully!

  8. Wow, you’ve been having fun! I can just imagine you smiling as you lined up each window shot – they’re fabulous. So many different angles! I love the rocks in the foreground of “Mountain Shelter” the tilted window, the broken glass shapes, the way the mining days relic settles into that hill, the way “Three Windows” leads my eyes back into the frame…all wonderful. I like your thoughtful description of these places, too. My father’s father immigrated to the US from Germany in the very early 20th century and went out west to try his luck at mining. I think he spent a winter in Bodie, CA, and said, “Enough!” He returned to NYC and worked there. So your words & images have resonance for me.

    • Thanks Lynn … I appreciate hearing which one’s speak to you. I do take my time to line up the shots very carefully and using a tripod helps to get the framing exact. Sometimes it’s just and inch to the left or right, or adjusting the tripod legs up or down that makes a big difference.

  9. All very nice, Denise, but I’m especially drawn to the images that are tightly composed through the windows, with my favorite being “Through Yonder Window”

    • Thanks very much. I love doing these window and door shots and have accumulated a good collection of them over the years. It might be fun to gather them all together and look at them as a larger collection. ‘Through Yonder Window’ is my favorite too.

  10. Wow, each one is amazing.

  11. As always, you have some amazing shots here. I’m a sucker for the through-the-window angles, something that looks so simple, but I’ve found it quite a bit more complicated to pull off well.

    • Thanks Linda … glad you like windows too. Often the challenge is to deal with the depth of field (near & far) as well as exposure difference between inside and outside.

  12. Denise, I can “feel” your images somehow. If you were shooting still life or animals, it wouldn’t quite feel the same. I too, LOVE window shots! I kind of feel like I’m intruding, and yet inquisitive at the same time. My favorite non-window image is the “Shack among Aspens.” There’s an element of surprise to see a dilapidated building amidst those splendid trees.

  13. Nice series, Denise! I’m intrigued with the windows particularly, ‘Tilted’ and ‘Through Yonder Window’ and in the broken one I see Tinkerbelle and Pikachu above her! 😉

  14. By far my favorite collection as a whole!!! Outstanding.

  15. Yes, I saw her, and Thumper above her. “Neighbors” made me think of a similar kind of scene from inside the garage on the Zimmerman farm in the Water Gap Recreation Area. Like your write up; it connects. “Three Windows” invites me right in. “Tilted” stopped me short. Nice work, lady.

  16. 34 Angela Moyer

    Excellent, love seeing your work!

  17. You have a great eye for composition!

  18. 38 Virginia Rice

    Hi Denise, The Neighbors appeals to me. As always your work is beautiful. Merry Christmas

  19. This is a stunning collection, Denise, My favourite was ‘Tilted.’

  20. Awesome work, Denise. Each and every one is a stunner. Well done! Your obsession could easily 🔜 become a book project.

  21. These photos are so cool, Denise! I especially like how you take the shots of the windows. It’s very challenging to take photos of old buildings.
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Thanks Amy! I think the most challenging part is finding the structures. Sometimes they are too junkie with a lot of trash and debris left behind … I’m not too interested in those.

  22. A beautiful series Denise! I love how you used the windows to frame the cabins, and surrounding area. I also really like the clever titles you came up with for many of the images.

  23. I especially love the window scenes, they are so beautifully framed.

  24. Another outstanding collection, Denise! Your compositions show that you have an awesome time lining up each shot. 🙂

  25. Beautiful work.

  26. Love your shots; I have a thing for old buildings too!

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