25 September

Americana: The Forgotten Barns

by Jon Katz

For centuries, red barns were the symbol of American farms. That is changing; the old barns are falling apart, hit by lightning, wrecked in storms, sold to antique dealers and craftspeople, or replaced by aluminum barns with vinyl walls.

Those new barns withstand the weather more efficiently and require little maintenance and repair. They are much easier to build.

Old barns are among the most dignified buildings, and I am always drawn to photographing them.  They deserve a nod.

They are fading and falling apart; many barns I photographed just a few years ago have collapsed or been taken down. Some people pay a lot of money for wood.

I hope to capture some of these beautiful old barns in this Americana series because they have all vanished. They did remarkable work for people, storing hay and food and sheltering animals.

I want to record some of them, at least in images, and try to honor them.


  1. There is an artist in Vermont , Lisa Curry Mair, who paints the wonderful old barns in her area. Her work is fabulous. She shares her love of those wonderful old structures by painting them for posterity. She also tries to research the history of many of them. Many of her paintings can be found on her website, Canvasworks. Those barns are a true gem in the rural landscape……

  2. I’m loving the beginnings of your *Americana* series of black and white photos! What caught my eye in this one was the stunning roof on the silo on the left……….. your eye, and your camera do very well! Keep ’em coming!
    Susan M

  3. Yea! I am ecstatic you are into photographing barns. I don’t know why, but I just melt when I see photos like this. I lived 16 years on a farm until my father (no son to carry on with him) rented it out and became a truck mechanic. My mother suggested that I (an artist) draw and paint barns in the area because they (small farms) were becoming obsolete. If only these barns could tell their generational story. I am really looking forward to your presentations. Yes, you are a good husband and a good photographer.

    1. Thanks, Kathie, that means a great deal to me..I feel the same way about the old barns, and there are fewer and fewer of them all the time..Thanks for writing me..

  4. Some of my favorite photographic subjects are old barns and worn wooden doors. We have been up in Maine and Nova Scotia for over a week, and I’ve been shooting so many old fishing sheds along the coasts…happy camper here, and can’t wait to get home and upload all my files…and play. 🙂

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