Rural Icons: Photographs by Richard Walker

Abandoned Barn, Dead Elm, 1985, by Richard Walker (Chaseville, NY)
Rex Wilsey, 1987, by Richard Walker (Rex Wilsey, 100 years old)

"Rural upstate New York is a region of compelling physical beauty enhanced by its architecture, people and material culture. As a photographer, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and record its many riches.

In 1980, I left my SoHo loft to build a home in the hills of Schenevus, New York. As a still-life photographer, I was fascinated by the beauty of the changing rural landscape, the farmstead in transition and the architectural legacy of the area. What attracted me most was that objects 'past their prime' -- decaying trees, abandoned barns, junked cars, old factories and mills -- were allowed the dignity to remain part of our daily experience, reminding us of our recent past and ironically, in their demise, enriching our lives.

My other projects include creating compositions of interesting and unique objects to evoke a nostalgic mood, and portraiture including documenting the extensive local artist community. My goal is to portray all of my subjects without imposing a style. I would like the viewer to say "What a unique tree" or "What an interesting person." Life is all too transient and my photographs are my modest attempt to remind us of, and to preserve, our area's natural and cultural history." --Richard Walker

Richard Walker is a commercial photographer of objects, antiques, sculpture, paintings, architecture and interiors, and people with their art and collections. He is especially known for his still-life compositions of products, antiques and collectibles, sports memorabilia, and historical ephemera. His personal work, Rural Icons, is an exploration of the declining agricultural landscape and its architectural legacy in upstate New York.