A long-haul truck driver for most of his life, Washington State-based photographer Fred Loring captures the soul of a disappearing America. During his cross-country travels, Loring would often drive past ghost towns, homesteads, and old farming equipment lying in the middle of open fields. He never inquired about their owners or their stories, but kept a record of them in his mind, until he taught himself how to use a camera. Loring lives in Dallesport, WA, in the Columbia River Gorge, a national scenic area at the end of the Oregon Trail. To collect subjects for his photographs, he goes on local expeditions in search of man-made relics: rusty old cars, decaying sheds, abandoned tractors. A few weeks a year he ventures further east on his newly-purchased jeep to replenish his image reservoir.
Loring’s photographs are unique, in that they undergo a meticulous editing process. Accents of color stand out of a black-and-white backdrop, the glowing iridescent light on electric blue or scarlet surfaces conferring an aura of dreamy nostalgia upon the landscape. At times a faint patina of amber or silver over the image is enough to set the mood. Most of the objects and buildings photographed by Loring are now gone. His photographs are a gift to us; they treasure stories of the past, carrying the voices of those who once inhabited these places, their hopes, their laughter, their tears.