Saturday, September 29, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Bowling Green - A college town with a main street dominated by Victorian-era storefronts, Bowling Green is a lively place. There are some really interesting shops, and it seems to be an enjoyable place situated on the flat lake plain.
North Baltimore. - We erroneously got off at an exit on the highway due to construction, and ended up in this small town that held our attention for quite some time. N. Baltimore has a small theater, a busy rail line, and some interesting shops and eateries. It also has just enough rust to make it look a little rough around the edges, which means interesting, at least to me.
Taking Route 15 NW from Findlay, we encounted this hulking steer outside a large milling operation. It was definitely worth the stop!
An old window sign in Defiance.
Napoleon -- Napoleon is a charming county seat with a beautiful county courthouse that dominates one end of the town. The Henry County Courthouse just glowed in the late afternoon sun.
Our last stop of the day was in Wauseon. This small town has a LOT of train traffic -- three freight trains went by while we were there. The town has seen better days, like many small towns along the railroads, but the people there are friendly, and we ate at a small cafe that had amazing prices, good friendly service, and great pie...
There is a train museum there, too, which has a nicely restored New York Central RR station.
I'll admit that it is sometimes hard to keep motivated to shoot as the day wears on, moving from one town to the next. In a perfect world, I would have some sort of grant (or lottery winnings) that would allow me to spend 24 hours at each place, shooting a lot, have a writer talk to people, and finding the scenes that tell something more about the character of a town and its people. It definitely helps to have others along to keep the enthusiasm from flagging and share the observations that we came away with.
In this climate of polarizing politics, it's important to keep in mind that we are ALL Americans, with more shared values than we believe, and most folks treat you the way they'd like to be treated. Going through the small towns of Ohio and Michigan, and elsewhere in the Midwest is one way to experience the resilience of Americans, and the ways in which we are connected.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
I know that good artists work on their craft every day -- that's how they become great. We don't get to see the poor results from artists -- just the finished works that they are happy to finally show. Since Sally is working with collodion, it's a much more pain-staking process, with many variables to consider. Sally's description of her feelings about working on her portrait work made me mull that around in my head long after her lecture.
This was a very memorable lecture - thought provoking, introspective, and educational. I think that if some us came out feeling a little humbled, then that is a good thing.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Leslie has two shops -- Imagine That!, which sells photography-related products and services, and The Mecca -- which is her studio and camera collection as well as store. This is what I love about Findlay -- it's very arts-oriented, with lots of loft and retail space available, allowing specialty places like these to exist. There are many small art galleries, too. Rent in a place like Ann Arbor really stifles that kind of use.
The Mecca is the "film Mecca" where you not only see lots of cameras on display, but they are also being used. Leslie posts here what current models are loaded with film to be used.
We met up with Leslie and Lauren Bagley at Imagine That!, and had a blast at The Mecca talking about photography, film, and what has been going on lately in Ohio. Back at the end of June, there was an event called "Analog Pulse" in Cleveland which was well-attended, and we got to hear about the young people that are using film cameras, and are enchanted by Polaroids. Leslie's film fridge is bulging with Polaroid film, and it would definitely cause legions of 'roid fans to drool...
Needless to say, I was impressed by that film fridge, and I finally bought a package of the Impossible Project b&w Silvershade film for my SX-70. We had a lot of fun looking at the objects in the studio, and here are few more shots from inside The Mecca.kill it and the product line. Leslie showed us the Polaroid 8x10 processor that she bought from Cynthia Davis (of Ann Arbor, manipulated Polaroid fame), and now that the IP folks are once again making the 8x10 film, she is able to use it! Note in the last photo, the cameras that are for sale. Apparently, the Debonair plastic camera is selling quite well, and is a favorite of teenage girls!
Based on what I saw at Findlay, it is possible to make significant sales of film and paper and related supplies if one is willing to try and work with the local colleges, and tap into the "analog camera" segment of today's market. I'm not talking about becoming just another stop on the Lomography bandwagon. It takes some savvy and dedication to sell these things in today's market. If one is able to really make the film world accessible to new users (and recapture old users), by networking on the Internet, working with local groups, and "branding" appropriately, I think it could work in our local area. If brick and mortar stores continue to operate the way they have been used to all these years, then film becomes less relevant and the local clientele suffers, and the store often ends up ignoring film altogether. Making that extra bit of effort to make film stand apart from the digital world could pay off.
We had an enjoyable lunch with Leslie and Lauren at Logan's Irish Pub, and after doing a bit more shooting around Findlay, we said our goodbyes and headed off to our other stops for more photographic adventures. Thanks again to Leslie for being such a gracious host and also for the goody bags! If you are heading to Findlay, you can find The Mecca at 111 E. Sandusky St.