SYLVIA HORWITZ photography



These images of the vast prairies and isolated houses reveal a place once filled with promise for those who tried to stake their claim here. What dashed their dreams of opportunity? Perhaps it was the harsh climate, of rozen-ground winters, or an unforgiving drought. Maybe other forces beyond their control made them abandon hope, slowly over time, or through some catastrophic loss.

I photographed elements of some unexplained events, working quickly one morning to record my stark discovery. The life/death-like figures I encountered had apparently been staged. I had no idea for what purpose. This realization and the fear of being all alone in such a startling remote setting eventually drove me away.

Physical elements of habitation, the artifacts of real people who once had lived there, were all that remained of their early dreams in these little structures at the end of a dirt road, near the western border of Minnesota.

We can’t know the details of what really happened there, and in the end it doesn’t matter. Beyond the reflected surfaces, a dimension of personal place emerges. This is a universal place where uncompromising reality has replaced some promise. For each of us, it is only the circumstances that make our losses unique.

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