This photographshows an old Shunting engine from the Bodman Railway in St. Michaels, England. Several years ago, as a birthday present my wife bought me lessons for a three day course on how to run a steam engine. The only instruction I received beforehand was to bring old clothes and some sort of hat. I was so excited that I outfitted myself in a blue Dickey boiler suit and a leather cap, the kind an old steam engineer or fireman would have worn.
The course included one day of being an engineer, one day as fireman, and finally one day of learning how to oil the under carriage, empty the fire pit and wash/wipe down the outside of the engine and bring on water. I did not drive the ULGY but instead drove one of the regular engines. I believe it was the LSWR(SR) Beattie Well Tank 2-4-0 WT No. 30587. That seems to be the only engine of its sort that was in service in the late 90s when I took the course.
This 1938 Chevy Modern Classic is owned by Dick Manthey. He was generous enough to allow me some time to photograph it. I wanted to capture what this car might look like "in period" so we drove it out to the historic Jungle Trail in Vero Beach, FL to take some pictures in front of the Milton Richard Jones Homestead. The homestead was built by Jones' father in 1921. Jones' grandfather was one of the original settlers of the area in the late 1880s.
I had Manthey park the car in front of the house as though he had just driven up to see an old friend. After several poses, wherein I noticed that the light was a bit strong I had him pull out and got a shot of him driving down the dirt road.
I purchased my first view camera in 1998. It was a 1957 Gandolfi half plate camera that was hardly used. The camera came with half and quarter plate backs and original accessories which included glass plate holders, dark cloths, four various lenses (one dates back to the late 1800s), a shutter release, leather carrying case and a box of unused glass plates. Some of the holders were still loaded with glass plates. In 1998 the Gandolfi Camera Company was one of the last companies that produced cameras by hand, one at a time. Finding this extraordinary collection of equipment in a London antique camera shop started me on my way to large format photography.
I had 5x7 and 4x5 film hold backs made for the camera and then carefully stored everything away except for the camera and lens. Several years later when I was getting ready to move back to the U.S. I decided to open the box of glass plates. What I found was not the balance of unused plates, but six exposed and developed plates with various degrees of frustration and quality from whomever had owned the camera prior to me. Out of the six glass plates, one was in perfect condition and the exposure was correct and the commission framed nicely. I made contact prints and the end result was this photo. I believe it depicts a very good idea of what stable looked like in the 1950s.
This series of photographs is a snapshot of life in America at the turn of the last century.
The photos came from my friend Peter Williams of Peter Williams Museum Services, performs art restoration in Boston, MA. Last summer he called me and asked if I could print some old glass plates which he had acquired at an estate sale 30 years ago for a few dollars. They were so fragile, and in some cases the photographic emulsion was coming off the glass. I decided to make contact prints and have them scanned for the website.
I also made enlarged prints and sent them to the Bicycle Museum of America in Dayton, Ohio to see if they could find someone to identify the people in the photographs or where the photos might have been taken. I thought that maybe the bicycle racing team picture or the overly large bicycle would give some clues. As of yet they have not been able to identify them. My contact at the museum is holding the prints for their next annual bicycle collectors meeting to see if they can find something about them then.
These pictures were taken around 1899. The sign in the frame shop is for White Sewing Machine and Bicycle Company.
You will also notice that several of the people are in different photographs. There is what appears to be a very serious meeting at night between four men. I think they own the manufacturing company producing bicycles. Something that sticks with me is that the women spared no expense in making their clothes and the gentleman wore ties and long coats.