Bringing an Abandoned Canadian Town’s Houses Back Home With These Haunting Photographs

The Photo Blog
July 30 2014 2:14 PM

Bringing an Abandoned Canadian Town’s Houses Back Home With These Haunting Photographs

5
Yukon Order of Pioneers.

Sarah Fuller

As the title suggests, Sarah Fuller’s project “The Forest of No Return” could be mistaken for a ghost story. That wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. The series, about the “return” of transported houses to their original setting in an abandoned gold rush town in Yukon does have many of the necessary pieces that help form a scary tale.

Even the techniques Fuller used to turn the photographs into a theatrical experience—once used by Louis Daguerre—helped to create a somewhat spooky environment.

“I think the photographs do have something eerie to them. I think it’s because they create an effect of human presence but they aren’t real,” Fuller said about the work.

Advertisement

In 2012 Fuller traveled with her four-by-five camera to Dawson City, the home of the Klondike Gold Rush that began in 1896, to photograph houses that had been a part of nearby Bear Creek, the company town for the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation which shut down operations in 1966 and was then abandoned. The residents were forced to move away from Bear Creek since there was no longer an active industry in the area. While many of the homes remained, some were moved to neighboring towns. Fuller also took photographs of the land where the houses had once stood in Bear Creek. She then scanned the film and, using Photoshop, combined the houses and their previous environments to make a single image. 

That was just the beginning of the laborious process to make the houses come alive.

Those scans were then printed onto linen in nine sections Fuller sewed together to create an image that was roughly one-half the scale of the actual home. She painted the back of the fabric prints, save for the windows, and, once installed via rope into the forest where they once stood, she illuminated the backs to give the illusion of the homes shifting from dusk to night. She then photographed the five finished installations.

“I had a moment of inspiration,” Fuller laughed when speaking about the project. “I didn’t realize when I started how much work it would be.”

4
Coell's Residence.

Sarah Fuller

3
Dredgemaster's House, Dredge No. 11, Olaf Olegard Residence.

Sarah Fuller

Aldcroft Residence.
Aldcroft Residence.

Sarah Fuller

Most of the work had been finished prior to Fuller attending the Natural & The Manufactured project, a residency in conjunction with the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture and the ODD Gallery that examines the ways in which we influence and are influenced by our natural and constructed environments. Fuller completed and installed the project while attending the residency.

“I realized early on that documenting was going to be a big part of the piece as only a small community of people were going to be able to see it live,” Fuller said. “I was really hoping people would engage with the work and appreciate the history of the place and how the pieces integrated with this history.”

Dubois Residence.
Dubois Residence.

Sarah Fuller

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.