The Red Building

At the end of a day spent recently in Galena, IL, Don Burkett and I found an old red building that appeared to be ready for the bulldozer. We were surprised to learn that it is actually still in use, though we don’t know what function it provides.
   That didn’t prevent us from spending some time photographing the northwest side of the building. The fun part of photographing buildings such as this is seeing how many interesting images can be made in one session.
   The obvious place to start is the bigger picture. The more interesting portion was the sagging double doors with some type of cloth hanging out of the bottom and the strap hinges that have done a better job of retaining paint than the surrounding wood.

Those strap hinges were screaming to be photographed, so that’s where I headed next. The result was the shot of the session. See if you can determine which hinge was used.

After the strap hinge was photographed, I backed up again to photograph the other door. Its broken bottom, screen, collapsing state, and the encroaching plant growth made for an interesting study.

The screen seemed to offer possibilities, so I moved to a window that also had screen on it. That window produced two images. There is a chain on the side of the window that added some interest and plenty of red paint to the left of the window. There were several elements I wanted to include in the image and the potential for clutter was high. So I split the frame with the chain so the left side would just be a board and the right side the rest of the “stuff.” I’m not sure it works, but there’s plenty to look at in the image.

In the bottom right corner of the window the screen was holding a bunch of broken glass and other debris. It would have been nice to have a bit of sunshine to add some sparkle to the glass, but clouds were the weather of the day, so it had to be dull, dirty glass.

It was getting to be time to head home, but I wanted to explore the paint on the building. It is faded, peeled, cracked, and nonexistent. The patterns formed by the deteriorating paint suggested some image opportunities. I made several images, but the first one is the only one I ended up liking. It looks to me like paint flakes dripping down the wall.


About Gary

I am the publisher and editorial director of Commercial Building Products, a trade magazine for architects, contractors, and building owners, located in Barrington, IL. When I'm not publishing the magazine, I'm either behind a camera or up to my armpits in saltwater, maintaining my reef aquariums. I also co-host, with Christine Williams, a weekly podcast about the reef-aquarium hobby called Reef Threads at