Photographing History

During any trip, local or not, one subject of interest is photographing different styles of old architecture that come into view. What makes me take notice to such structures is my interest in historic travel destinations and individual sites. Some nearby areas have a great number of old buildings, making it an easy road trip of photographing architecture from the past.


As for houses in particular, some may have those historic markers and may be in the process of being restored or have been restored. Other houses, however, are abandoned relics with untold stories that always draw my attention to them. I wonder what stories they hold; stories that can be added to the history of their surrounding communities. Maybe when their stories are finally discovered, those stories will help to save these long abandoned old houses from demolition.


Of the two photos below, I believe that the one on the right is currently in use. However, the one on the left is now the only old structure standing near new homes.

Unfortunately, many other old abandoned homes seem as though they may be demolished soon because new housing has built up around or near them. So I like to photograph old buildings for the purpose of documenting them, preserving them in images to compliment their stories.


Along with whatever untold stories yet to be found in these abandoned houses, the architectural details from another time also catch my eye. Turrets, gables, widows’ walks, Greek Revival columns and intricate wrought iron work…such details in old buildings bring some extra charm to a neighborhood. The photo below is an example of historic detail found on a building at a nearby college campus.

Given my interest in old architecture as a photography subject, some of my favorite destinations include Cape May, NJ and Gettysburg, PA. However, there are quite a few old homes in my local area which I have taken photos of in recent years. Some are Victorian, others go back to the 1700s and there are also a few castle-like buildings on college campuses. The photos below are examples from two different nearby college campuses.

Whatever architectural style and whether abandoned or in use, old buildings have such great character. Unique and often mysterious standing among newer development, they keep us connected to the history of our hometowns.


About caroldwyer

A freelance photographer and blogger, I'm also a non-traditional graduate of Cabrini College with a B.A. in communication, minor in English and concentration in film studies. As a student, I was a staff writer, photographer and copy editor for the Loquitur. In my final semester, I assisted in promoting campus literary events for Woodcrest Literary Magazine. I love travel, historic places, nature, wildlife and the arts. I hope to be involved in some way with one of those areas throughout my media career. Currently, I'm pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing. Read my film blog at - and my literary blog at
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