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name and portrait Kent Durk

company 360icon
website name 360icon- Panoramas & Digital Imagery of Rural Decay
website url
city and country Columbia, Missouri, USA

personal statement

As far back as I can remember I have been creating art. I have memories of drawing at the kitchen table at the age of 10 while my mother baked pies. In high school, my art teacher told me that I should pursue my passion for art.  Since then, I have never stopped.  

After working with many different types of media, I became strongly interested in photography.  Some nights I would spend hours by myself at the university library looking thru art and photography books. I experimented with homemade developers in my own darkroom. During those years I shot and processed over 7000 black and white 35mm images. Having grown up in a small rural community, I explored the country, creeks and woods.  Thus, my early subjects were abandoned farmhouses, rural scenes, and nudes.

After college I ran a printing press, learned graphic design and process camera work at a local publishing company. For the past 32 years I have been the Art/Special Projects Director for a large corporation, creating and building exhibits for our industry tradeshows.

After years of designing and creating for someone else, I decided to return to my roots and start pursuing my own passion—photography. So in 2007, I took a look at what panoramas had evolved into:  full-screen spherical and interactive. It was love at first sight.  I revisited my interest in old abandoned places and found that it was impossible to create a desired image using only available light.

Eventually I began researching the internet for panoramic photographic techniques I discovered how HDR could capture a scene with a large range of tonal values, one which no camera could capture in a single image.  Before long, I had compiled hundreds of panoramic photos of local abandoned places.  But I soon realized the dangers of photographing these dilapidated structures by myself. So I invited my wife, Cindy, and her best friend Laurie to come along with me to keep me company…initially. But while they played cards or backgammon in the car, a thought occurred to me:  give them cameras and have them take detailed, single exposure images of the artifacts and remnants of these abandoned structures. They were hooked. Thus, 360icon was born.

We feel it is our honor to photograph these images of decay before they are lost forever.

All Else Passes - Art Alone Endures

suggested panel layout

first image
first image title Hickory Grove 1888
first image subject Front Entry
first image place date Slater, Missouri USA, August 30, 2008
first image caption We had been shooting all day long and were on our way home when we passed through a small northwest Missouri town and noticed an old boarded up theater from the '50s, so I was dropped off to shoot a couple of images. Laurie and Cindy decided to drive around the town and see if they could find any old abandoned places. When they finally came back to pick me up they told me of this beautiful home up on a hill that was abandoned but looked like it was maybe being restored. The front door was open and above the entry porch was a marker dated 1888. We were worried we might be caught going inside this home because it was in an inhabited neighborhood, but luckily no one noticed and we proceeded to go inside and take photos.

HDRi image composited from 70 high resolution images to capture the complete tonal range of this scene using only available light.

second image
second image title Route 135
second image subject Front Porch
second image place date Slater, Missouri USA, August 30, 2008
second image caption This house was set way back in a plowed corn field. It was built in the early 1920s, but there was no evidence of the last residents. The inside of the house was used to store old farm equipment, surrounding the outside were large hay bails. As with many rural houses that we shoot, there were numerous vultures flying overhead...we probably disturbed their roosting spot.

HDRi image composited from 60 high resolution images to capture the complete tonal range of this scene using only available light.

third image
third image title Arlo & Lillies Place
third image subject Upstairs Bedroom
third image place date Missouri River Bottoms, Glasgow, Missouri USA, May 25, 2008
third image caption

We discovered this house in the Missouri River bottoms where there are a plethora of abandoned houses.  What was remarkable about this particular location was that when we entered, we found not just a few things lying around but a home full of clothes, family pictures, furniture, books, mail, pots and pans, as if the owners had just walked away from their lives and left everything behind...but why?  Why would anyone just up and leave all their possessions?  During our adventures we met farmers who told us that the younger generations in these rural communities do not want to stay, so they move away and leave their family’s farms behind.  So we think that this is what happened here, no one wanted this house or its contents.

HDRi image composited from 80 high resolution images to capture the complete tonal range of this scene using only available light.

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