Ghosts in the Wilderness Abandoned America

This workshop has been inspired by Tony and Eva Worobiec's famous book' Ghosts in the Wilderness' which was released in 2003 to very high acclaim throughout the world. Paul and Tony have spent a lot of time travelling through America and have worked for some time to bring about this unique and awe-inspiring workshop. These ghost towns and farming communities were created by a steady decline in population in the great American plains and with such a low population the lands became almost worthless so communities simply moved out. In this workshop, we go onto the plains and see places that are almost frozen in time.

The High Plains stretch from Texas in the south to the Canadian border in the north, and gets truly interesting when you travel to the states of Montana and North Dakota. To the east the farms are prosperous, while to the west the rugged Rocky Mountains form a natural barrier. This part of the High Plains is barren, sparsely populated and it is not uncommon to travel 50 miles before reaching a sizeable community.

It is a land littered with abandoned homesteads, grain elevators, churches and schools and classic American cars abandoned at the roadside often isolated within the unbelievably flat landscape. As you might imagine, these derelict structures offer unique photographic opportunities set against the big North American sky. aspect2i has chosen to travel during the month of May, as this is when we are most likely to encounter the weather at its most interesting when the super-cell storms build in the huge open skies making photographing this place a truly amazing experience.

Arriving in Billings Montana, we will then head north past Judith Gap towards Lewistown; from there we are able to explore several abandoned towns and communities which offer excellent opportunities for both colour and monochrome photography. On leaving Lewistown, we continue north to Havre, which is just 50 miles short of the Canadian border. Whilst Havre is a modern town, it is also surrounded by numerous truly iconic American abandonment features. We continue our journey east along Highway 2 which may not be quite as celebrated as Route 66, but offers very similar photographic opportunities. This route takes us to the north-eastern part of Montana, which probably features more abandoned communities than anywhere within the USA. At this point we get to within 6 miles of the Canadian border.

As we travel eastwards and over the border in North Dakota, very little changes, although we increasingly begin to encounter numerous ponds and small lakes which are the breeding ground for an impressive array of birds. We continue to travel along Highway 2 as far as Minot, before we head south to Bismarck, which will give us a rare experience of city life, if only for one evening. From this point we start to head west, first through the south eastern part of North Dakota, and then over the border into southern Montana. Along the way we will be travelling the back-roads, scouring the landscape for abandoned homes and schools; occasionally we will be able enter some of these properties which have remained empty for years.


Tony & Eva Worobiec

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