Small Town, Fading Memories

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by entropic remnants, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    I made a trip to rural southern NJ to drop some truck parts I had left from my offroading days at a buddy's farm down there. On the way home I wandered up the NJ river side coast to see what I could find. I found a couple of cool things in a small town there -- a bank I could get in and an old general store I couldn't. But it was a fun find.

    It's a town where even the street signs are beginning to rust away -- a sad commentary on the decline of small town America...

    I was in my wife's SUV and didn't have tripods so I had to make due handheld in the dim light inside the old bank -- but I got a few shots with my new X-E2 camera. It's an updated X-E1 so the shots look the same but the camera is faster, better, stronger -- it's a cyborg of a camera now, lol. Most shots with the 18mm f/2 -- not th best lens but good for low light wider angle work. Certainly worked for my purposes today.

    Your Hometown Bank: Latter Days by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: Night Deposit by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: High Tech Security by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: High Style by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: Under Water by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: Back Room Deal by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Your Hometown Bank: Executive Level by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    W.S.Leap Facade by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Gothic Intersection by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
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  2. carlb

    carlb FujiXspot Veteran

    Feb 6, 2013
    twin cities, minnesota
    Great images, John. Makes me imagine the very last day that business happened there. What it must have felt like to turn out the lights, walk out the door and lock it that last time. Before that, when did the staff know it was really over. Almost nothing we do has permanence.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    Thanks, Carl. Exactly right: that there are so many stories you can imagine about the place. Recently had a taste of the "business closing" bit, lol, with the steel mill where I worked closing.

    As I stood there on the upper level, I imagined families, business men, old ladies -- all coming in to save or borrow or whatever. Banks were once a community thing and not the faceless service organizations they are now. This had the feel of a proud local institution and it's sad to see that go.

    The bank where I bank was once a local one, or at least a small regional one just in this are. Then they were bought by a larger bank, and a larger bank still and they just don't feel the same. I can sort of see this sort of thing happening to the branches of my bank over time. The difference is: they don't have the character this building did. It's sad to see it go downhill -- it's really a nice building at one time.
  4. petach

    petach FujiXspot Top Veteran

    Feb 16, 2013
    more magic from John,.................great shots, all reeking of times gone. Can almost feel the ghosts of those who walked before you.
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  5. deckitout

    deckitout FujiXspot Regular

    Aug 2, 2013
    Essex uk
    Very detailed and sharp images John, I like the angle in the first shot showing the sign
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  6. phil62

    phil62 FujiXspot Regular

    Oct 27, 2013
    Lovely stuff, John. I'll think of these next time I log on to my internet bank.
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  7. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    Here's some more -- not necessarily the best shots but they round out the picture a bit.

    First off, this is the little freight lift you have to crawl over to get in there... it's held up by a piece of chain like the one you see dangling and it's not fun and I am not recommending it. I'm just a fool for this sort of thing.

    Your Hometown Bank: The Way In by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Here's the larger safe which is almost exactly the same design as the safe at American Viscose in Marcus Hook PA, circa 1910 or so.

    Your Hometown Bank: The Big Safe by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    A shot of the atrium from the executive level. The iron stairs to the watery horror which is the basement is on the right side in the middle of the frame.

    Your Hometown Bank: The Atrium by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Finally, here's a shot out the back overlooking the marshes and the Delaware River. No wonder the basement is almost completely filled with water.... Had to do this one from RAW because of the extremes of light and shadow. It's a single shot though.

    Your Hometown Bank: Down by the River by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
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  8. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    Found out some information and I'll out the location.

    Did a little research and the bank began as Little Graystone Bank, became Penns Grove National Bank, then Penns Grove National Bank and Trust in 1929 when this building was built.

    Found out that W.S. Leap was born in 1873, the same year his father Charles built this large Victorian place. It was distinguished by it's construction which was by some of the best craftman of the day and the fact that the business and residence were both in the same structure. It had a cupola and a "widows walk" on the roof.

    Charles Leap operated a General Store across the street from this structure originally and this structure was built to be a menswear store. It was advertised as being "one square from the pier" as it is very close to the river and a large pier that once existed.
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  9. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 1, 2013
    Jersey Shore
    And I wonder if the bank went out of business or moved to a different location (out on the highway, perhaps?). The staff would likely have felt differently in each scenario. Fascinating to contemplate.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. EasyEd

    EasyEd FujiXspot Rookie

    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey All,

    Wonderful images!

    What I wanted to ask you about is - how much post do you do or is it basically all in camera?

    Besides the composition and subject material what I really like about these photos is that - to me and maybe only me - they have what I think of as ektachrome sharpness. My favorite film was always ektachrome - color but with the sharpness and ability to express all the attributes of black and white.

    Here is an image from another photographer (Sarah Marino - who's work I love) that does the same[postimages]/9/

    This is not a kodachrome "look" - getting my images to reflect this is where I am trying to go but haven't yet "got there".

    I use an XE-1 - do you have special camera settings?

  12. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013

    Ed, either I'm getting what I'm trying for, or you have a GREAT eye for the look of a photo. Take a look at this thread I started on Mu-43 a while back and you'll see that an Ektachrome look is what my model is. That's what I started out shooting as a young photographer in the 1960's.

    That being said, the answer to your questions is: yes. lol -- that is, I sometimes try to get it in camera, but fall back on RAW as needed. For extremes of dynamic range I'll use RAW and also photorealistic HDR techniques.

    Basically, whatever serves the image. If I was a time and money pressed commercial photographer I'd want to shoot quick and use in-camera to minimize my time spent -- but I'm not. I fancy myself an "art photographer" and I want my work hanging in folks homes, places of business and ultimately galleries would be nice also, lol. These images don't necessarily fit in that class as they aren't the best quality I've shot for the most part but they still represent my approach.

    In all seriousness: thank you for that post.

    By the way, Sarah Marino's photo is stunning so I can see why you'd aspire to that -- me too!

    Anyway, I now supplement my post with DXO Film Pack 3 which I like very much for some images, but not all. Sometimes just a little tweaking gets you there. Have a look at that other post I did and it might explain my general goals. The methods are always evolving through selection of different cameras, lenses, and post processing tools -- but my basic goal doesn't change much. I want to make beautiful, if possible emotional, photos that don't have a processing that is distracting where you notice the "effect" more than you "get" the picture, if that makes sense. Like everyone, I do that well sometimes, and sometimes I just can't get what I see in my head.

    Thanks again and nice to meet you.

  13. EasyEd

    EasyEd FujiXspot Rookie

    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey All,

    I had forgotten all about that other thread. I'm going to try some of what you suggested. In it I replied saying your work looked "ektachromic" even then.

    Anyway I think it clear we are on the same wavelength.

    i love black and white - I been there developing film, printing, dodging and burning, different papers all of it. I learned how much I love line, texture, contrast all that makes great black and white great black and white.

    I have always been disappointed with excess colour and to me kodachome was too much red/orange too much how does this image make you "feel". Ektachrome to me kept the best characteristics of black and white and added colour - the colour was there but not over whelming and the attributes of black and white were still there. The only "disadvantage" if it is a disadvantage is that the images do have a sort of cool (as in cold) feeling "blueness" or "greenness" to them which does not always "fit" with the subject matter. With digital I'm thinking one should be able to maybe get the ektachrome "clarity" and keep enough of the warmth. I'm working on it and your images are really there as are Sarah's.

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  14. Judderman62

    Judderman62 FujiXspot Rookie

    Dec 22, 2013
    wow fantastic finds and cracking photos John :)
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    More good stuff, John. You are a rust and peeling paint radar.

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  16. walker

    walker FujiXspot Regular

    Jan 18, 2014
    Italy, Northeast
    such a gorgeous pictures. they're so real that I'm even able to see the employees walking around the rooms!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    Excellent work. Shots and post processing are perfect.
  18. zpuskas

    zpuskas FujiXspot Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 18, 2013
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Very nice work, love the images, great color. As you mentioned, sad to say this is playing out in many parts of the USA.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. photogfollett

    photogfollett FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 2, 2013
    San Carlos, California
    Another fantastic set of photographs John. You have a look and style which I recognize as being your work before seeing who posted the images, which is as high a compliment as I could pay anyone.
    BTW, how the heck to you find all these amazing places to photograph?!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    Jul 28, 2013
    Thanks, all. I'm not on the boards much lately so sorry for delayed responses.

    As far as having a recognizable style -- that is indeed a very nice compliment thanks!