2335 McCoy Road

The first photograph I made of the structures at 2335 McCoy Road was in the early afternoon on January 8, 2009, during a quick visit with my wife, Wendy. It is a digital photo of the Produce stand—an illusive subject that confounds me to this day.

I recall tiptoeing around the barn in a state of wonder and awe. It seemed so out of place there so close to the road surrounded by the constructed skeletons of new Toll Brothers homes. And, yet, we (my wife and I—and the homes) seemed so out of place there, as well: interlopers, voyeurs, rubberneckers gawking at this ruin and that degradation, making up stories about what happened and who had owned it and how they could let this happen. Over time, feelings of trespass transformed into respect.

Since that January afternoon I have recorded more than 1,000 digital photos of the barn and the surrounding landscape, first with a Panasonic DMC-FZ50 and then a Nikon D90. I have made many hundreds of analog photos using a Polaroid 250 Land camera, two different Polaroid instant cameras, a Canon AE-1, three Holgas, a Diana F+, a Golden Half, a Kodak Brownie box camera, and a Happi Time 127 camera.

I have recorded it at all hours of the day and night, in rain, snow, blistering heat, and blankets of fog. I have been to the state archives to research the history of the land (the first recorded structure was built there in 1698—hundreds of years before there was a road). During that time I watched the barn go from a relatively sound building to one with gaping holes in the north and south ends caused by violent winds. The tin roof began to blow off and then sag under the weight of feet of snow. And then I photographed it as it was razed to the ground on a hot summer afternoon.

The sixteen photographs in this exhibit represent that transition. The Polaroid photos were made using expired Chocolate peel apart film and the others were made using vintage and toy cameras. Photographing the barn so often revealed the importance of matching the media with the subject matter. The digital images, while nice and sharp, were missing something—a grit, a graininess, a way of capturing not only the subject but also the history sedimented within. Adding grain in Photoshop could never capture such sedimentation—and these photos have only had minor edits to remove dust and burn in shadows. The color in the Polaroids matches the originals as closely as possible. They are all full-frame with no cropping.

Most of these photographs would not have been made possible without Jim Cammock, Sr., owner of the property and Construction Unlimited, the company that is restoring the barn. I cannot thank him enough for the access he gave me to the property and the graciousness that he, his family, and his employees showed me.

Bill Wolff
7 October 2011

15% of all sales will be donated to Preservation Delaware.

If you are interested in purchasing a print, please contact me at bill@billwolffphotography.com. In your email include the print title. I will send you a bill via paypal.

You can see photos of the show opening at and how the images look on the wall at http://j.mp/2335McCoy-open.