Riverview Florist, Alone

Riverview Florist. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist door. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

In a now-quiet Ohio Valley steel town—right around the corner from the famously abandoned car dealership—stands a building so grand for its purpose, it’s difficult to believe it was simply a greenhouse and florist. The English Tudor-style building is so very handsome it seems to have been plucked from one of Britain’s verdant fields and plunked in the centre of fields of concrete instead; that it is flanked by massive, overgrown greenhouses made it an even more outstanding sight.

Riverview Florist. Photo copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

This is not the original Riverview florist and greenhouse headquarters (nor the last); that caught fire in 1935. The Tudor edifice in my photographs was designed by East Liverpool architect Robert Beatty, with the admonition he include pieces of the old greenhouse building—specifically, charred beams rescued from the ashes of the original. These Beatty integrated into the French doors leading to the greenhouses. Presumably, there they remain, future success built, as it nearly always is, on the success of the past.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

You’re probably thinking this enterprise must have been at least a little successful for such an impressive structure to serve a florist & greenhouse during the Great Depression, and you’re right. It’s such a marvellous story, too!

Riverview Florist. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images.

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Finding sanguinity in America’s abandoned places

Wilkerson's abandoned store, Newkirk, NM, Route 66 USA. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

Newkirk, New Mexico

Since discovering it last year, I’ve really been enjoying the blog of Leanne Cole, a fellow photographer who lives in Australia. A while ago, she began a series of posts, “Influencing Me”, about the artists who inspire her, and this has been great fun to read—it gives us insight into her work, which of course causes others to reflect upon their own.

Leanne’s series came around the same time I got to sit and listen to not one, but two people contemptuously deride me and my work as not just “living in the past” but actually being “stuck” there (you can tell, what with my cameras, computer, smartphone, mild TCM addiction and deep affection for the Lightning Bug app I’m pretty sure I’d never sleep again without). I also got into a conversation with someone about my liking to shoot abandoned places.

Leaving aside the painful mental dissonance we’re all bound to experience considering my photographing abandoned, crumbling buildings as they are while simultaneously living in the day when said things were new (perhaps I know The Doctor after all, but I’ll never tell), I once again felt the urge to try and explain why I shoot what I shoot and my mindset going into each and every photography journey (which, as I’ll bet Leanne can tell you, is more difficult than it sounds at the first). This topic of shooting forsaken places seemed like a decent place to begin. Continue reading

Terrific Photos of Russian Airplane Graveyard

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Via the UK Daily Mail come these marvellous photographs from an airplane graveyard in Russia. Photographer Alexio Marziano has done a truly fantastic job capturing these old Russkie birds—I just love his eye for detail, sense of perspective when taking the photos, and especially some of the playing around he did with depth of field. (Yes, yes, a fellow photographer after my own heart, I know. But he is very good! Keep reading!)

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The ships can be found in an Ulyanovsk field almost 600 miles away from Moscow in what is part museum, part-graveyard for the planes, jets and helicopters—including a Tu-144, the Soviet Union’s first and last supersonic passenger aircraft (the Tu-144 is, I believe, in the first photo I’ve featured in this post). High prices and repeated crashes of this particular plane led to its operating for only one year—not at all a good return on investment, and much, much worse, at the cost of several lives.

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