BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — In 2003, Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp set out to photograph ghost towns and abandoned places across North Dakota as a hobby. Over the course of their journeys, they took photos all across the state — from homes and highways to asylums and millitary installations. For 12 years, they travelled through the state, chronicling the things they found in both several books and their website, Ghosts of North Dakota.
Now, seven years after the completion of their main exploration, the journey may be coming to an end.
“As Terry and I have transitioned to different stages of life, and now live across the state from each other, we’ve been proud to say we were the “Ghosts of North Dakota guys” and talk to people we meet about the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen,” said Ghosts of ND member Troy Larson in an article on the Ghosts of North Dakota website, “and we always will be. However, the active part of our explorations and research has unfortunately come to an end as we indulge different careers and pursuits.”
While this does mean that the majority of Troy and Terry’s ghostly adventures will come to an end, it doesn’t mean that the project will stop completely — the website may still be updated, but at a much less frequent pace.
“I am sure there will still be an occasion when we find ourselves in the car, on the road, in the middle of nowhere, and there will be some new photos showing up on Ghosts of North Dakota when we get home,” continued Larson. “That will surely happen, but we have largely retired from the chase.”
Although the adventure may be mostly over, the concern of what will become of their work is one that may grasp fans of the historical buildings documented by the duo. But there’s no need to worry: when the group said they’d work to preserve the memories of these places, they meant it, and to help share the legacy of North Dakota with the world, they’ll be releasing their entire photo library into the public domain.
“Preservation means forever, and these photos, the tangible memories of these lost places, aren’t going to live forever on our hard drives,” stated Larson.
All photos will be released under a free-use license, otherwise known as a Creative Commons Zero license. This means that any individual has permission to both access the photos and utilize them for either private or commercial use. Crediting Ghosts of North Dakota for the photographs is also optional under this license (although they have stated that all credit is greatly appreciated). These photos may be printed, used as inspiration, edited, or used however a viewer wishes to.
Public Domain photos have already begun to be released on the Ghosts of North Dakota Facebook page, as well as original, full-resolution, unprocessed versions of the photographs able to be accessed via links in the comments. For pictures taken in more recent years, originals in uncompressed RAW files will also be available.
“It’s our gift to you, and a way of saying thank you for all your support over the years,” finished Larson in the post. “We get occasional emails from people who want permission to use one of our photos for a special event, or to base a painting on one of them. We almost always said yes, and hopefully, we’ll see more of that in the future.”
To view the photos currently available from Ghosts of North Dakota, visit their Facebook page.