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Abandoned America - Deserted North Dakota and Montana Photography Tour
01st - 13th May, 2024
£5,549.00 / £650.00 Deposit
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Our ‘Abandoned America’ North Dakota and Montana photography tour will take place in May 2024 with Mark Seymour.
The vast open prairies of North Dakota and eastern parts of Montana were almost unpopulated by non-native Americans until the early 1900s. The arrival of the railroads and free land grants offered by the government resulted in the rapid spread of railroad townships and farming communities in the early 20th century. The remnants of lost communities are scattered throughout the countryside with decaying and abandoned farmsteads, churches, schools, grain elevators, cars and trucks providing wonderful opportunities for documentary photography.
Tags: North Dakota Photography Tour | Montana Photography Tour | Mark Seymour
Abandoned America - North Dakota & Montana Photography Tour
However, life was hard for the settlers. The land was of poor quality and the extremes of summer heat and winter winds and snow made both farming and day to day life difficult. Various factors including the Great Depression, the closure of railroad branch lines following road building, the reluctance of young people to remain in rural areas and economic pressures have resulted in a progressive rural decline after the population peaked around 1930. The number of people remaining in rural North Dakota and Montana is now only one third of the 1930 figure with many places abandoned altogether.
Many places and objects have stood just as they were on the day the occupants and owners departed, altered only by the ravages of weather and time. The interior of some properties can be accessed and it is not uncommon to feel like you have entered a time warp with furnishings, utensils, clothing and personal possessions remaining in situ from decades ago.
In western Montana where the land rises towards the Rocky Mountains numerous frontier towns sprung up during the days of the gold rush and prospecting boom. These are now in various states of repair – and disrepair. Some are preserved as historical records while other have been reclaimed by nature and little remains. There are yet more towns which are part way through the process of decay. Again the photographic opportunities, for both interiors and exteriors, are immense.
The wide open prairies themselves provide landscape opportunities as do the ribbons of cottonwood trees which follow the watercourses. Additionally there is a chance that we may see cowboys and ranchers working with their herds.
Our tour will start in Fargo, North Dakota. We will travel west through the immense plains visiting, among others, the remnants of the settlements of New Salem, Almont, Marmarth and Tioga. We will continue westwards and photograph close to the Canadian border in Montana at Homestead, Flaxville and Scobey.
We will travel further heading into the higher land of western Montana to photograph ghost towns including Bannack, Garnet and Elkhorn. If road conditions permit we may travel to Coolidge, a silver mining ghost town, which is a little higher in the mountains. Finally we will spend the last night of the tour in Montana’s largest city, Billings, before flying out from there the next morning.
We will travel in two large American-style SUVs and accommodation will be in various of the many hotels which serve travellers in these remote areas.
Accommodation - Single Occupancy
Airport transfers from recommended flights
Transport during the tour
Tuition from Mark Seymour
Meals not mentioned
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