I enjoy making photos of small towns located in rural areas. I’m always on the lookout for compositions which show evidence of “pride” in living there.
There is an Episcopal Church in Eden, NC near where we live that was built in 1926, with the help of members of the congregation who tirelessly gathered thousands of rocks from nearby farmers field’s to serve as the foundation for exterior and interior walls. That’s amazing dedication toward a spiritual purpose.
The architectural style brings back memories of my travels during several visits to the United Kingdom during the 1980’s. I’ve said it before, there is no doubt I’d have been a happy resident living there permanently, had my life turned out that way. The Eden Rock Church so close to home makes me realize that even more.
I did a double-take as I drove by this house in Eden, NC recently. There was no question I needed some photos. Why was an apparent long vacant house painted bright red? Perhaps only to attract attention, which in my case worked.
Later on I saw another “interesting” house, also vacant. This time in blue complete with an American Flag on display, with an over-stuffed sofa sitting on the front porch. Another strange photo opportunity.
I enjoy making photographs of old, now abandoned structures. Such as this old movie theater in small town Eden, NC.
(Photos except where noted made with a Fujifilm X-100T with 35mm lens)
Below is a low resolution historic image of how it once looked in the 1930s-40s. (Credit cinematreasures.org)
As you can see, it doesn’t look that much different today.
Placing my camera lens against the clouded-glass ticket booth windows, I saw bright colors that made me wonder how many people over the years has stood in line where I was to enjoy the entertainment. How much did a ticket cost? From my youthful experience from the 1940s I guessed much less than a dollar for an adult, even less for one under twelve. The theater seated just over 400. What movies were shown there? Probably not first run. It’s questions such as this that keep me looking for and finding “history” around me in the Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina. Look for it.
(Photos made with Fujifilm X-T100 camera and 35mm f/2 lens.}
The Miller Brewing Company became MillerCoors in Eden, NC and then closed. The colors and light at the main plant were such the day I drove by, seeking photo opportunities, that I had to capture the scene. The facility certainly does not look like it’s closed. A short walk away from where I was standing was a wetland with lots of wild vegetation such as Cattails, and I became mindful once again that “nature” is everywhere, even in an industrial setting.
The two compositions below were made near another closed industrial plant, Spray Cotton Mills, a part of Eden for over 100 years. It’s been closed for many years, but still offers numerous interesting photo opportunities for those like me. Again, lighting, colors and shadows provided interest.
I saw the colorful window display below in a shop in the Leaksville community in Eden. I’ve written before, never pass by an interesting composition just because it’s behind store-front glass. Putting the camera lens up against the glass helps minimize or eliminate reflections.
Lastly, it’s generally in small town America only where the iconic barbershop pole (below) is seen. A bit of history from Wikipedia: “During medieval times, barbers performed surgery on customers, as well as tooth extractions. … Another, more fanciful interpretation of these barber pole colors is that red represents arterial blood, blue is symbolic of venous blood and white depicts the bandage.” Once again, colors and shadows formed the basis for my photo composition.
If a passing train causes one to stop and wait, some might decide to visit the nearby Railroad Cafe to enjoy a traditional Southern United States breakfast or lunch. Places such as this are few and far between these days. That’s too bad. Except for the photo opportunities.
(Photos made in Eden, NC with Fujifilm X-T100 camera and 35mm f/2 lens.}
I’m a sucker for being first in line to visit any old General Store. Anywhere. We’re fortunate to live close to many still operating in the mountain regions of Virginia and North Carolina. My favorite is located in Valle Crucis, NC near Boone. Mast General Store has so much to see you need at least an hour, and even then you will feel like going around again to find that “special treasure” just waiting for you. In that regard, there’s lots to make you get your credit card out, or your cash, whichever. As far as photo opportunities are concerned … well, just take a look at what I saw recently.
This is “Joe’s place. The sign in front reads “Joe’s Triangle” (it’s hard to make out the second word) and it’s impossible for me to determine what it once was, except for the fact it sits at a triangular intersection between two roads leading into the small town of Eden, North Carolina, a short distance from our home in SW Virginia. As I was making this photo and the ones below I was thinking about who Joe was and what he did here. Perhaps it was a bar, perhaps a small store selling who knows what, perhaps it was a barber shop, or perhaps it was just “Joes” home. One of the neatest things about photography is being able to imagine these sorts of thoughts about the scene you are photographing. This is especially true when deserted buildings are concerned, or when you see a faded-paint sign on the side of a farm building out in the middle of the country. Unfortunately, American has in many respects become too urbanized and we often fail to notice remnants from our history still standing, even if they are usually dilapidated and overgrown with wild vegetation. Joe’s is from a simpler time. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be able to go back there and revisit places like this when they were in their prime.