Solitude is easy to come by…

You get what you need in the swamps of Maryland along the Eastern Shore. Solitude is easy to come by, early in the morning, and when storms threaten. Bad weather tends to keep all but the hard core searchers at home. Of course, the hard core know that bad weather is more interesting.  

Bald Eagles perch, scanning the water. Snapping turtles inch over the blacktop. Perhaps they know that hard rain means no cars. The sound of the place is deafening, all manner of creatures sounding. Folks  here want to be left alone.  There is no other reason to live here, aside from the elegiac beauty, and the chance to see eagles fly everyday.  I tend to walk a little more carefully, and to pay closer attention when I am down in the bottom. I am the obvious outsider, and strangers draw attention. The locals don’t really care much to hear about my interest in the desolation represented by the wreckage of old barns and crumbling farm houses.  They aren’t looking for metaphor, after all.  They live here, out on the swamps, and when the rain comes and the water rises they know better then to be out wandering around. 


Indiana in the Springtime…

I was westbound for Chicago. The sun was setting.  I got off the interstate-because nothing of interest ever happens on the interstate-and hit the county roads. The car windows were down, some country rock and roll star was singing on the radio.  The sky was turning dark.  I parked on the shoulder, turned everything off, got out of the car and looked out across the fields. I was 10 miles from any man made noise.  I stood on the edge of the farm, the dirt prepped for planting.  The wind picked up. Rain later, maybe. Springtime in Indiana. 


On Broadway.

They say the neon lights are bright…

Manhattan is the place folks.  I get up to The Big City every now and again, often just to wander the streets with my cameras.  The trick is to get up and out before all the people muck everything up with their walking and commerce and nonsense.  I lived in Brooklyn for a short bit many years ago and would hit Manhattan fairly often, wandering The Village looking for very-hard-to-find records.  Mostly I just reveled in the city.  New York is The Beast.  A myriad of photographers have spent time wandering the streets looking for just the right combination of humanity and architecture.  It’s a hell of a town. 








My Dad used to take my brother and I bowling.  I took my son once, maybe twice.  I am by no means a bowler.  I am, however, drawn to the alleys.  I see one, I photograph it somehow, finding some aspect that is compelling. Looking for lost dreams, no doubt.


Girls in their summer clothes, or: I never photographed a barn.

In the Spring of 2007 Bruce Springsteen recorded Girls in Their Summer Clothes, a song that was subsequently released on the Magic record.  It is a brilliant song.  And it has nothing to do with girls, or summer.

In the same vein, I have never photographed a barn.  I don’t drive hundreds and hundreds of miles to photograph barns and roads and stores and churches and and trains and whatever else is laying in wait out in The Great Beyond.  The effort to produce work with a broad aesthetic has almost nothing to do with the thing out there that the lens is aiming at.

 So what is in a photograph?

Much of that is up to you, dear viewer, but always look deeper. The artist (if I may use that term) may have something to say beyond what you think you see.

Outside it’s America.






A brilliant Sunday. Ohio, October 2014.

An early start with a plan to drive through Ohio and the day was too good to be true.  The light was brilliant, the clouds were out and I had all day with nothing to do but see the beauty of the land. As long as I live this perfect day will stay with me.  


At the end of a dead end road in Tennessee.

Sometimes you don’t know you’re off the highway until the car is up and over the shoulder, down and into the field.  It sorta feels like that these days, crazy people shouting crazy people things and all sense of order slipping away, cars and trucks sliding off the road to parts unknown.  So maybe we fasten our seat belts and hope for the best. 

I made this image in Tennessee.  I’d stopped to walk out into a field to get a closer look at something that turned out to be nothing and this scene was in my view on the way back to the car.  It was a beautiful warm spring day and pretty yellow flowers were blooming all around me.  I’d parked at the end of a dead end road. I stopped for a good bit to make a series of photographs, this one included.  And then I stood on the ground in a field of pretty yellow flowers at the end of a dead end road in Eastern Tennessee, bound for Neshoba County, Mississippi. 


Find your own Yosemite.

I have many go-to locations when I need to take the muse out of the bag.  Adams had his Yosemite, Ford had Monument Valley, Avedon had the white background, LaChapelle has a big pallet of color.

Snow adds a new element, obviously, and every now and then I find the chance to get out and get my feet cold.


The Mississippi Big Dog.

Covered ground in Mississippi last Spring, from Laurel up to the timber country north of Philadelphia. Timber is the Mississippi big dog and the market is, therefore, flooded. Everybody knows somebody that can cut your trees cheap. Sure thing mister, Buster and me, we can give you 10 dollars a ton. Maybe not the best time to sell, but the stand needed thinning, so I walked the 110 acres of woods, finally locating the property that once was the Thigpen homestead, way back in the 1930’s.  That’s quite a thing to experience, standing out there on a red dirt road in Neshoba County, Mississippi; nobody around, and a warning from the woodsman to look out for rattlesnakes.



Why black and white?


Why indeed.  Why hang a black and white print, or several prints, in your home or office?

Because black and white imagery lasts. Black and white is compelling. We stop to look. We attach the classic elegance of the well made black and white print to the space we are in.  The subtle tone shift from white to grey and to black afford us our own interpretation of composition, form and light.

The slick Vegas strip offers a look back to Sinatra and Presley and reminds us that nothing happens without risk.  The enduring American landscape takes us home, the farm, the endless highways, the majesty of the place we remember, the place we are from. Black and white sets us apart, tells the viewer we know where we have been and where we are going.


Call me:  Chris Hensel  610-566-888



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Indiana Farm