Metal, Moisture and Oxygen

by | Apr 12, 2017 | Projects | 0 comments

I’m not sure what this structure is but the color and texture made it a worthy subject to photograph. | © Ronda L. Birtha. All rights reserved.

Most of the rusted and abandoned structures I find are buried under growth, or, as in the case of vehicles, are being stubbornly held onto by the owners, most likely to the dismay of neighbors. Either way, they’re beautiful to me.

More often than not, rust is a problem. It’s corrosive, undermines integrity, introduces instability, and, for some, steals beauty. For me, the textures and colors that form from this long-term, toxic relationship between metals, moisture and oxygen just forfeit one form of beauty for another.

Just look at this bus. I have no idea when this  Ivy-covered bus came to rest. It’s parked on Buchanan Branch in Robbinsville, not far from the Cherohala Skyway, a beautiful highway splitting Cherokee and Nantahala, connecting North Carolina and Tennessee. It’s been years since I’ve been there and I’m hoping it’s still there, not completely reclaimed by nature. I think I’m brave enough to get a little closer, maybe go inside.

As for the trucks, I found these beauties at the Peachtree Service Station in Marble, NC some years ago. I talked to the shop owner who had a fondness for the vehicles. I think he said he harvested a part from it here or there, but he’d never sell them outright. I had my camera and asked if he minded if I took some pictures.

Both trucks were sold a few months later. I guess the price was right. Glad I had my camera.

I published these images, along with some others in a Print-On-Demand book titled RUST back in 2008 and I’ve resurrected some for this post. I’ll be including these and others from the Abandoned series on my official website ( which is being renovated to reflect a new direction for my photographic work. 

In the meantime, enjoy. And if you do, please like this post, and feel free to subscribe to the blog.