Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Project: Towns' Category

Martinsville, Indiana

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Sarah and I really enjoyed our photography trip to Spencer, Indiana, so much so that we are starting a project of photographing various small towns (and possibly larger ones as well). We’ll visit various towns, and photograph them. So far we’ve mostly walked around the square areas in these towns to get a feel for downtown, but in some cases, I hope we’ll branch out beyond that, or maybe stay longer and eat a meal or grab a drink at a local establishment to get a better idea what the places are really like. Keep in mind, though, that the goal of these photo tours is not so much to capture a general overview of what the place is like, but to find out what lurks beneath the surface. In that sense, my photos may or may not be representative of the town as a whole, or even the specific areas we visit.

What shape this project takes remains to be seen, but sometimes having more of a purpose makes photography more interesting. This time, it was a sunny day with deep blue skies, perfect conditions for a polarizer. However, I had left my filter at home. So, I tried to simulate its effects by exposing the shots differently from how I normally do it. I also tried some new post-processing techniques. I think I had some success, and these shots are stylistically rather different from the ones I took in Spencer.

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Spencer, Indiana

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

On Sunday, Sarah and I headed out for a photography trip. Somewhat randomly, we chose to go to Spencer, Indiana, a small town not too far from Bloomington. It was raining on and off throughout the day, and we drove through downtown Spencer, surprised at how vacant the place was. There were a number of shops and restaurants, but many of them were closed, the spaces for rent. It was eerie, seeing such a deserted downtown. Spencer has a really neat courthouse complete with a clock tower that reminded me of the one from Back to the Future. It’s different in many ways, but has a similar vibe, I think.

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Railroad tracks run right alongside one of the roads, in a bit of a strange way.

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As you might expect, in a town where many of the downtown buildings are vacant, some things are falling into disrepair. It’s not too bad, but some awnings and roofs have mold visible on them.

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I especially liked the dusty scooter in front of a law office.

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Then there was an odd Mexican-looking building, which was for sale. This gave us second thoughts about the house we put an offer on. OK, maybe not.

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This fallout shelter was labeled for men only.

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There was another fallout shelter on the other side of the building, which I expected to say “WOMEN.” But it had no designation at all.

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There also appeared to be some sort of …. uh … dungeon(?) … beneath the courthouse.

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🙁 CLOSED

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There was also a very detailed statue of a soldier, commemorating the town’s WWI heroes.

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It was an interesting outing. Seeing these scenes made me want to learn more about the history of the place. I try to picture the downtown area in a past era, bustling with people, rather than vacant like this. I wonder what it’s like on a weekday now, even, when the courthouse and the post office and the remaining businesses are open.

I’m sure we’ll return to Spencer at some point, and maybe we’ll branch out beyond the square next time.

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