December 14, 2011

Bolton Emerson Americas: Wood Shop II

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If I were accused of displaying a lack of variety on my site, I would have to plead guilty. For the past couple of months Bolton-Emerson Americas is about the only place I’ve been shooting. I make an effort to get over there one or two mornings a week, usually for no more than an hour. And I’m shooting there with a sense of purpose.

I’ve finally started working on compilation of these images. Yup, I’ve started the Bolton Emerson Americas Book.

I’m very excited about it and I’m really looking forward to finishing it and making it avaliable.

Of course, as I lay out the images in the Blurb software (which I have very mixed feelings about), I keep finding holes in the unfolding picture narrative, so I go back to fill in the blanks.

The book started out simple enough. It was going to be a compilation of images I shot over the course of 18 months at Bolton-Emerson Americas. But with the company’s roots going back to 1905, there was much more to it. This book of photographs of cool old industrial equipment needed some context. And for that, I needed some help. I asked Frank Mack (a 23 year employee) to provide some technical info for image captions. He was more than happy to oblige.

Frank also suggested I check out a framed  newspaper article commemorating the company’s 50th year in business. The article is from June 21, 1955. It has lots of great facts about the company’s origins and growth in that first half century. I thought I could pick some factoids from it and write some copy. But as I was reading it I thought that the writing style of the article was as compelling as any of the images I’ve shot there.  Rather than re-write, or paraphrase the article I thought using the article itself as copy for the book was the way to go.

So I asked Sandra Krug (owner of BEA) if I could borrow the framed article so I could scan it. She went one better and loaned me an original copy of the entire newspaper. She didn’t stop there.

She also loaned me the original order book of the Eagle Knife and Bar Company (which became The Bolton Company and eventually Bolton-Emerson). Needless to say, this project has grown.

It will still be — first and formost — a book of photographs, but with the help of a few decades old artifacts, I hope to illustrate the rich history of a living museum.

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  1. Good luck with the book/project! This is one of those timeless classic images, could have been taken 40 years ago or yesterday. Well done buddy.