Rural Photography – The Road to the Forgotten: 16 Gorgeous Photographs

Rural Photography – The Road to the Forgotten: 16 Gorgeous Photographs

Amber Ketchum
Amber is a professional photographer from Ohio. You can visit her on her website.
Amber Ketchum

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Amber Ketchum

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By on in Cool Photos, Featured

The age old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and that could not be more true than when it comes to photography. For lack of a better word, we will call this “rural photography”, but you may find similar types of subject matter in places other than rural areas. The key here is to explore and find the hidden treasures of abandoned and forgotten homes and property. Old houses, debilitated barns, abandoned vehicles — the possibilities really are endless.

If you are feeling adventurous, or maybe you are lacking inspiration and need a change – take it to the road! Even if you live in a large city, it is usually only a short drive to come upon the countryside where a lot of these hidden gems can be found. Even if it would take an entire day to accomplish, it is worth it. There are no rules here, except maybe to avoid breaking any trespassing laws, and most importantly, to make sure you have fun with it!

There are infinite possibilities, some photographers have been known to go inside of these homes and find them intact, as if the inhabitants had just gone out for coffee one day and never returned. This is eery and very creepy, but more power to you if you are brave. Again, just be careful of trespassing and never go into a building that appears unstable.

If you are lucky, you might already live in an area that gives you access to rural areas. If you do, you should definitely take advantage. Here are a few examples of the beauty to be found within the forgotten.

Abandoned Old Home by graywolfx47, on Flickr
Old Ford by graywolfx47, on Flickr
Broken Window by shinealight, on Flickr
Abandoned Home NM by PoeticVision, on Flickr
Window to an Abandoned Home by country_boy_shane, on Flickr
Army Photography Contest – 2007 – FMWRC – Arts and Crafts – I Can See You Now by familymwr, on Flickr
10.30.11 HarpersFerryTrain-2492 by Luigi Crespo Photography, on Flickr
One of These Days by tlindenbaum, on Flickr
Trailer and Barn by urbanwoodchuck, on Flickr
Old Decaying Kitchen by Martin Cathrae, on Flickr
Hillsboro Pike Barn #1 by urbanwoodchuck, on Flickr
La Moine River Anthology by craigfinlay, on Flickr
Reclamation by Oslo In The Summertime, on Flickr
nature always wins by theogeo, on Flickr
Le Mans – La vieille maison by bibendum84, on Flickr
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  • Evelyn:

    Rural is where I live.[img][/img]

    May 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm

  • Garland Simmons:


    May 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm

  • Garland Simmons:

    May 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

  • Garland Simmons:

    May 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

  • Noah Parks:

    Really great shots. Makes me want to get out and find something abandoned.

    May 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

  • Rudy DeVeau:

    I never called it rural but love to discover the old or abandon places.

    May 12, 2013 at 9:28 am

  • withheld:

    A lot of the pictures in this list are High Dynamic Range photos but this isn’t mentioned in the article. HDR is photography isn’t ordinary point and shoot photography. It’s a way of manipulating photos to give them more contrast and less shadow. The results are artificial, in my opinion. But if you want to do HDR photos there are cameras with the feature built-in, or you can use a photo editing tool.

    May 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

  • Avatar of ClarkeirClarkeir:


    June 27, 2013 at 10:59 am

  • Avatar of DamonDamon:

    I’ve got a couple of decent rural shots on my blog if you would like to check them at: there is a couple of other posts on there as well from Missouri and Indiana.

    July 14, 2013 at 7:14 am

  • Avatar of AllanJoynerAllanJoyner:

    You are correct that there are lots of great subjects in the country. That being said unless you can photograph them from the road its just bad manners and potentially dangerous to go wandering on abandoned properties. Always get permission from the landowner and ask about old wells, old dump sites and any other potential hazard. Nothing ruins your shot like finding an angry bull bearing down on you and your camera! Us country folk don’t wander into backyards downtown and its best that visitors to the country observe the same courtesy. I always try to send or drop off a picture too. It will help the next person who wanders up asking to take some shots.

    July 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    • Lois:

      I have to agree with Allan Joyner. I truly enjoy abandoned structure/property photography but I can’t bring myself to just wander around other people’s property to capture it without permission.

      I’d love to see a lightstalking article about scouting locations and getting permission to shoot on said locations for those of us who aren’t quite so “adventurous”.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:08 am

  • Bob Wilkinson:

    I would appreciate the photos more if HDR was not used. They look artificial and missing the look of old.

    July 28, 2013 at 8:50 am

  • Frank:

    Agreed that HDR can be “overdone” and look artificial, but HDR can be used to show exactly what we see with our eyes. For example, I can clearly see every detail of someone sitting indoors in front of a window in my home and at the same time see the foliage on the trees outside in the background. To get the same view with my camera, however, I would have to combine two photos. One image would have the person in clear detail and the background washed out, the second image would have the person a silhouette and the outdoors in full color. With HDR applied, I can then combine the two images to get what my eyes saw, detail of the person and full color in the background.
    The same could happen from the indoors of an abandoned cabin with an opening of a widow with bright daylight coming through and interesting details within the darkened interior.
    In short, HRD is giving photos the same high dynamic range that our natural vision has.

    November 13, 2013 at 6:37 am

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