How the Art Happens - The Survivor

April 05, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The Survivor

The SurvivorThe SurvivorAn abandoned cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado survives another winter.

I'm always surprised every spring when I see that this cabin has survived. I have to tip my hat to the pioneers that built it. Even though the ridge beam has been sagging for a decade and the top plate has been broken for nearly as long, This cabin just keeps hanging on. This photo is six years old. The cabin looks worse now but it is standing still. It's a popular spot for photographers.

While I would not qualify my photo as art, it records my neighborhood's history. Recording our history is a great reason to photograph our surroundings. Lots of images become more valuable over time as the pioneer spirit is slowly replaced by modern construction. I have been fortunate to capture images of the Conoco sign coming down over the museum, the deconstruction of The Manor Lodge, Jeramia's, The Swiss Chalet, and the bakery at the ski base area. Most of these places were not replaced. But, that's another story.

Most of the snow had melted by late April 2017. We woke up to a fresh dusting so I set out to see what I could find. Just a few miles outside of town I stopped at this iconic snow-covered cabin. I like that the ground and Whetstone Mountain were also decorated with fresh snow. The blue sky popping through the clouds seemed to represent a feeling of hope as the storm cleared. The cabin had survived another attack by mother nature. I also like that this cabin stands alone near the road with no vegetation or trees nearby. It seems alone against the elements.

I have a more popular autumn version called "Fixer Upper" made a few years earlier with an outrageous sky that decorates a few walls around the country.

"The Survivor" is a reminder to me that even as I start showing signs of wear and tear, I still have something to offer even if it's not this attractive. If you look closely, there's a marmot sitting beside the chimney. I only noticed this as I made a print for a friend in Fort Worth, Tx. I guess it pays to look closely at the things we capture.


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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