Monticello- Thomas Jefferson's Home


The home of Thomas Jefferson named Monticello is located in Charlottesville, Virginia.  His home is based on two Paladin villas built many years ago and from personal sketches he recorded in France as he lived there for four years.  Monticello sits a top a hill which overlooks Virginia University where Jefferson designed many of the buildings for the campus.  It is recorded that he would take out his telescope and watch the construction of The Rotunda from his home and if the project were behind schedule or if he'd seen design flaws he would ride his horse down the mountain to correct them.  I should note Jefferson was a extreme micro-manager.

As I arrived at Monticello there was a large blanket of fog rolling in and visibility at times was 30ft and I am told that not many people have seen Monticello in the fog so I felt extremely lucky and knew I was going to capture some amazing and unique photographs.  In one moment the fog was so thick I could not see the home and then all the sudden the fog gave way to an almost clear view of the structure.  It was a very moving and haunting experience and I could imagine it may have felt like seeing the Titanic for the fist time in a heavy cloud of fog - although this parallel differs-  they're equally iconic.

These photographs were meant to be a study of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello but I found that the architecture wanted to say something else to me.  It was the ghostly and historic presence of Jefferson that was present before me and my lens.  The capturing of architecture became secondary and the essence of Jefferson- The Man, became primary and I believe its evident in these series of photographs.  You can see where his children might have played, you can imagine where he might have greeted guest with a handshake under the portico, and you can imagine the vistas he'd seen where he might have pondered designs, ideas, and not least the Declaration of Independence.