Robert Lussierboston, Cityscape5 Comments

I’m really not happy with myself. I try to post an image every weekday here but I’ve been falling way short of that goal over the past few weeks.

I think (I hope) a change in attitude is coming soon, but I think it will continue to be slow here through the holidays. That said, I am definitely looking forward to putting together a photographic recap of my year. It has certainly been an eventful one!

Speaking of which … Today’s image is from a helicopter ride I took back in the spring. The Christian Science Center is in the foreground, the Pru, the Charles River … Is there a prettier city from above?



Robert LussierBoston

Spiral Light

Robert Lussier20mm f2.8, Lowell, mills5 Comments

Here is another shot from the Wannalancit Mill in Lowell. I can’t tell you how much fun this was to shoot. Or how overwhelming it was. I mean that in a good way.

This one was shot with my wide prime Nikon 20mm f2.8. And it is one of my favorites from the set. I was looking for the classic spiral staircase composition — isolating the steps and railing in a seemingly endless spiral. But there were a number of windows along the staircase that were distracting me. So I decided to embrace them.

Robert LussierSpiral Light

The Attic

Robert LussierUncategorized2 Comments

A quick post for today. This image was captured on the last Mill Workshop Steve Perlmutter conducted this year. It was a relatively small crowd, which afforded us the opportunity to get some shooting in of our own.

Our next workshop will be sometime in late February or early March. Dates will be announced definitely before Christmas! You can get the news here, on our Historic Mills Photo page and on Facebook.


Robert LussierThe Attic

Wannalancit Mill Spiral

Robert Lussier16-35mm f3.5, Lowell, mills4 Comments

Last week I had a chance to photograph two gorgeous staircases at the Wannalancit Mill in Lowell, Massachusetts — another mill city on the Merrimack River that shaped America’s Industrial Revolution. Lowell is also the city I was born and raised in, so it holds a special place in my heart.

The Wannalancit Mill was completed in 1831 as a textile mill. At one point it suffered a fire and was rebuilt. Today it houses many businesses as well as classrooms for the University of Lowell. There are sections of the old building that look completely modern. There are others that retain some aspects of their 19th century charm. Then there are the two spiral staircases — one on the south end, one on the north. About 90% of these staircases are maintained in their original form, making them an absolute joy to photograph.

I have several shots to share from this great location and will roll them out over time.

Thanks to my friend Steven Perlmutter for making the connection with Wannalancit property management, who graciously allowed us to shoot the stairs.

Robert LussierWannalancit Mill Spiral

The Clock Tower

Robert Lussier16-35mm f3.5, lawrence, mills1 Comment

I thought I’d wind up the week with one more shot of the Ayer Mill Clock Tower. This one is from a few years ago when I got a chance to go to the roof of the Ayer Mill, but not into the tower itself. It was a bittersweet morning. I was thrilled to get close to the tower but it only made me want to shoot the interior even more. Shortly after this shot I redoubled my efforts to gain the trust of the Tower’s Keepers, the Essex County Community Foundation.

As you probably know from this weeks posts, I was successful in that effort.


Robert LussierThe Clock Tower

Clock Works

Robert Lussier20mm f2.8, lawrence, millsLeave a Comment

Here is another shot from last Saturday’s clock tower shoot. This one (obviously) without Charlie. I grabbed this just after Charlie told Steven Perlmutter and me about the massive undertaking that was the restoration process.

The clock stopped working in 1955 and remained unattended until the early 90s. The condition of the various pieces of the clock mechanism ranged from corroded to destroyed to completely missing. All due either to the ravages of time or the work of vandals. They were able to restore many of the parts but many more had to be recreated. Charlie, a machinist by trade, manufactured some of the parts himself.

Additionally, the unattended tower had become a nesting ground for pigeons. Over the 40 0r so years of avian occupancy a small ocean of pigeon poop had accumulated in the tower — in some spots, up to six feet deep. The cost of cleaning that mess alone was around $75,000.

But that is the past. As Charlie likes to point out, the clock is good to go for another 100 years.

Robert LussierClock Works

Charlie Again

Robert LussierUncategorized2 Comments

I thought one more shot of Charlie Waites was in order. This is one of my favorite shots from the portrait shoot. It is a gimme shot, sure. But the expression os Charlie’s face is priceless. This is his clock.

Thank you, Charlie.


Robert LussierCharlie Again

Charlie Waites: Keeper of the Clock

Robert Lussier15mm fisheye 2.8, 20mm f2.8, mills9 Comments

I first met Charlie Waites in 2010 when I originally photographed the clock. Charlie was the guy who guided me up to the tower, through the belfry and into the clock, just as he did again this past weekend when I took these shots.

The clock was originally installed 1910 by E. Howard Company of Boston. It stopped running in 1955 and remained silent until a restoration project was launched in the early 1990s. Charlie was an integral part of that restoration. A machinist by trade, he made some of the replacement parts needed to get the clock mechanism running again. Since the restoration, Charlie has been the keeper of the clock. He puts in a minimum of 10 hours a week, 220 feet above the ground to ensure the clock keeps running. It is a trip he can make in the dark.

In fact, Charlie has made the trek to the tower pretty much every time of day and through the nastiest of New England weather conditions.

So when Charlie asked me to photograph him in his beloved clock tower, I was jumped at the chance.

Here is Charlie in the doorway of the clock house.

Charlie oiling the clock.

Joining me on the shoot was my friend and fellow Mill shooter, Steven Perlmutter. Steven held my off camera flash when I needed it. When I didn’t he was making magic of his own.

You can read more about Charlie and the clock tower restoration here.

More shots of Charlie to come.

Robert LussierCharlie Waites: Keeper of the Clock