With a shared interest in photographing old barns, Asheville-based photographers Don McGowan and Bonnie Cooper decided to begin offering workshops on the topic three years ago. Their research on area barns led them to the Appalachian Barn Alliance (ABA) whose mission is to preserve the rural heritage of Madison County through the documentation of the historical barn building traditions and the barns they represent.
Featuring 16 photographs by Bonnie and Don, With These Hands: An Appalachian Barn Photography Exhibit will be on display through July 1 in the gallery at Asheville Eye Associates, 8 Medical Park Drive.
“The exhibit will give visitors an exceptional art photography experience, while helping them understand the depth of history and folk craftsmanship that created the barns and farmsteads of the southern highlands,” says Taylor Barnhill, lead researcher for ABA.
“Western North Carolina has such a rich history and barn tradition, one worth knowing and preserving,” says Bonnie. “I see them as fading beauties, endangered species, telling a story of a time gone by. I wish to capture their beauty while it is still possible and contribute to preserving their legacy.”
Bonnie describes the story behind her photo “Barn Owl.” After photographing an old bed frame leaning against some haystacks, Bonnie wandered over to the six-stall stock barn and looked inside. “The owl, not happy with being disturbed,” says Bonnie, “gave me the evil eye more than once—but I was finally able to capture what is likely a fairly common but not often seen scene!”
A reception for the exhibit will take place from 5:30–7 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, at which Taylor and Don will make a presentation. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
To learn more, visit appalachianbarns.org.