Abandoned South Dakota
Sioux Falls photographer Abby Bischoff has run her Flock Studio for about the past five years. Bischoff had what she calls a 'real job' while casually pursuing her passion for photography by shooting weddings, graduation photos and other projects for friends and family. That passion though goes back to when she was a farm girl outside Huron, South Dakota. Bischoff says she would "enter pictures in 4-H and waste ROLLS UPON ROLLS of film doing photo shoots of anything and everything."
As a journalism major at SDSU, she also took several photography classes which just furthered her interest and passion. When asked what first caught her imagination with the abandoned houses that fill the Abandoned: South Dakota Facebook page (which in just a couple of days, has already surpassed 11,000 fans!) Bischoff says "As a farm girl, I guess I was drawn to them as the backdrop of someone's life. The Christmas mornings, the fights with your siblings, the family dinners - all take place in the walls of a home. A few years ago, my parents built a new home on the farm and the house I grew up in got moved away when the new one was done being built. During that process, I really thought about how a house is so much more than that. It's really a character in your life."
A year ago, Bischoff did a 365 project which encourages people to post a new picture every day. Several of the photos on the Abandoned: South Dakota page were included and she said that friends and acquaintances were very supportive. She said she would post them while waiting for a batch process to run on a wedding or portrait session she had done, but had no idea this idea would take off the way it has.
Bischoff says "I certainly don't think I was the first person to think to photograph them and I'm probably not the best. But, I've learned that unless you push yourself into things, sometimes you won't ever do anything. So, I've thought I want to do a book on them for a while now. And more than just a photo book. I'd love to do interviews with family members of these homes - hear the stories and memories the homes hold. Find out what that last moment in the house was and what led them to leave it behind. I'm sure I'd see waves of certain trends leading to their abandonment - weather events, economic times, etc."
The Facebook page has already had several fans asking if they can share their own photos and giving Bischoff tips as to where to find more of these treasures. She says she'd LOVE it if people would share their pictures on her page adding that the more of these homes that can be preserved through photos, the better. She also would like fans to send GPS coordinates to where these houses are located since they're obviously not on the highways, which she says she never takes. Bischoff is used to taking the long way to her destination and is always thrilled to come across these abandoned South Dakota homes that speak to so many of us.