The Barns of Illinois

Macomb, IL – A photographer whose latest work highlights barns in Illinois will talk about his project during an appearance in Macomb.

Larry Kanfer has been photographing the Illinois landscape for 30 years. He has put out six books featuring his photographs. His latest is Barns of Illinois. It's the first book of his to include short vignettes to accompany the photos. The short stories were written by his wife, Alaina.

"You have the photographs because it's a coffee table book," says Larry Kanfer. "But you also have the underlying story, which is what I think is so exciting."

The Kanfers will talk about the book at the First Farm Credit Services office on East Jackson Street in Macomb on Monday, December 21 at 5:30pm.

Larry Kanfer says people have asked him to photograph various barns for years. But the Kanfers wanted to go beyond the superficial and discover what it is about barns that people get so excited about.

The couple started their research through the Internet and libraries. But they say they got the best results in finding the "rich emotional stories" they were looking for when they sent e-mails to all the people listed as friends of the Larry Kanfer Gallery. They received hundreds of e-mails containing photographs and stories.

"We really did delve deeper into everything to try to figure out and show the connection with people," says Larry Kanfer. "We write about that, we write about each one, and how people, the owners or the families are connected with that barn."

Barns of Illinois features barns that were part of the Underground Railroad and ones that are a part of the National Historic Register.

Alaina Kanfer says the beauty of the barns is just part of their appeal. "A lot has to do with the stories too. Once you hear the heartwarming story it's hard not to love the barn."