March 9, 2011

Keeping the Books


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I was overwhelmed by a sense of history when I took this shot. That may sound strange, given all of the shooting I do in the mills, but this was different. These books contain the business records of the Essex Company.

The Essex Company was the civil engineering firm that built the Great Dam in Lawrence, which harnessed the power of the river, generating the electricity that powered the mills. They had the foresight to buy the land along the river and design and develop the city around it. These books hold records of the birth and development of a city.

The Essex Company’s office is now home to the Lawrence History Center (LHC). When the Essex Company left in the 70s, they left their business records, engineering plans and other records dating from 1846 through the 1970’s.

As an urbex photographer, I’ve come across business records and engineering drawings in a few places I’ve shot. I’ve seen artifacts left behind by workers long gone – snapshots of the past that tell small parts of the story. 

These books are the narrative.

On Another Note:
I’m pleased to announce that I was invited to exhibiting a series of Mill images at the Lawrence History Center through the month of May, Preservation Month.

The mission of the History Center and the motivation for my mill photography are a perfect fit for the theme of this year’s Preservation Month, “Saving America’s Treasures.”

I was thrilled to be invited and look forward to working with them.

Stay tuned for details.

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  1. Cool shot, I like the panoramic crop. The organization of the books makes for an interesting composition as well with the alternating horizontal/vertical elements.

  2. Congrats on the invitation Bob – definitely well deserved! Great image. Your processing and composition here are spot on!

  3. AWESOME news Bob! Congrats! Love this image too, your appreciation and dedication to this kind of history is impressive and inspiring.

  4. Congrats, Bob! That’s awesome news 🙂 Great shot here, too…love that you’re able to capture such amazing little pieces of history at these mills.

  5. God, Bob, I got goosebumps with your post today. I can FEEL the history coming out of those books there… what a wonderful capture and your processing as always really brings out the needed emotion. I am blown away today.

    And a BIG congratulations on your upcoming exhibit! I am thrilled to see that your work is being honored as such, it’s absolutely well deserved! I think this work is very important, you’ve done a wonderful job of preserving these memories for us all and for future generations. I tip my hat to you, good sir.

  6. This is really quite a beautiful picture. On top of that I think it is your ability to tell the story about it that makes it beautiful. You have shown me a short movie in my mind with one picture and less than a page of writing. Well done. 🙂