Rockers and Porches

Porch RockerRoxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Maybe it’s because I used to be a furniture maker that I have an affinity for chairs; especially wooden rockers. There are few, if any, things harder to get right in woodworking than a chair. Design, proportion, selection of materials, joint selection and construction all have to come together for a chair to be good looking, functionally comfortable and durable in a way few other objects demand. All chairs are difficult to design and build, and a rocker is the most difficult of them all.

I can remember as a kid walking down our street and almost every house had a front porch, and almost every porch had a rocker; and the rockers were used and used frequently. You don’t see that so much these days. Porches which face outward have been replaced with rooms where televisions and computers focus our attention inside.

Folks used to sit on their porches and watch the neighbors. From the comfort of a porch rocker you could watch your neighbor wash his car or the woman across the street weed her flower garden. Kids played in the yard under the watchful eyes of their parents who relaxed on the porch and talked about their day. We don’t do that anymore, and we don’t keep an eye on our neighbors as much either. It’s possible to live in the same house for years and not really know who lives across the street. Maybe if we spent more time sitting on our porches we might remedy that, and what better place to sit than in a rocker.

But perhaps the thing a rocker does best is taking one’s mind off the things that need to be done and lets us think about the things we want to do. There is a guilty pleasure in that, and all it takes is a bit of your time; time to sit and think. The slow rhythm of the rocker is a great stress reducer, and I think we would all be better off if we used one more often.

Canon G10, processed in Photoshop CS4 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2



6 comments on “Rockers and Porches

  1. I like photographing old chairs often found in abandoned places. They have a human element without showing the human. This image is really nice … great tonal range.


  2. I love your observations and musings about rocking chairs and porches. I think a photographic study of porches would make a great book. And your photo would be on the cover!


    • I too have thought about a series of porches; a book seemed beyond my capabilities. I have no proof based on real research, but I suspect that porches are, if not an American invention, then one adopted and perfected here. Where other countries have balconies or courtyards, we have porches.


  3. Marc Isolda says:

    I have to take that camera away from you, darn good image!!!!


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