Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Collaboration is the Spice of Life

About two years ago I was invited to join the Firnew Farm Artists Circle in Madison County.  Who, me?  A photographer?  Didn’t they know I couldn’t draw, sketch, paint, or mix colors?  As I soon learned, there were other photographers in the group!  My affiliation with this talented collection of people has been incredibly inspiring, and I have learned  so many things that have made me grow as a photographer.  About six months ago two friends in the group and I started discussing a collaboration.  One of them is a colored pencil artist, one a watercolorist, and then there’s me….the photographer.  A very unlikely TRIO for a collaboration, for sure.  But, we set out to see if we could make it work.  We kept it our little secret in case we weren’t successful, and we collaborated in the car, at each other’s homes and on email throughout the weeks to come.  The challenge was this:  each artist contributed one piece for the theme TREES, and it would be passed to the other two for embellishment and change until it emerged as one cohesive and original work of art.  When we were finished we would have three pieces, a TRIO of works.

My first challenge as a photographer was to choose a photograph that could serve as a foundation piece for the others.   We met together one morning to share our foundation pieces.  Now my biggest challenge emerged.  What in the world do I add to these beautiful watercolors and colored pencil drawings to make it work?  Originally we had talked about working independently, but soon it became apparent that collaborating along the way was going to be the best plan.  I needed the most guidance of the three of us because….well, I told you I have a handicap when it comes to art.  After they were finished, we discussed how we would sign the pieces. They belonged to all three of us, but three signatures would have overwhelmed the pieces.  We thought about using last initials, which were B for Barham (Leslie), L for Lacy (Frances) and T for Temples.  BLT!  A sandwich.  How fitting!  We had layered our works together, creating tantalizing original art.  Let’s go with it!!

We are very proud of the results, which are now matted, framed and hanging in the Annual Christmas Exhibition of the Firnew Farm Artists Circle through December 27th.  You can see them at The Culpeper Cheese Company in Culpeper VA.  The opening reception is December 1, 4-6 pm.  Please join us if you can!

Paw Paw Tunnel

On my trip to western Maryland in early November, I had a chance to photograph the Paw Paw Tunnel. Located near the town of Paw Paw, West Virginia, it is parallel to the Potomac River, which is the boundary between West Virginia and Maryland. The tunnel was constructed through the mountain as the most direct way to route the C&O Canal, which runs from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. The tunnel is 3,118 feet long with a walking path, or a bike path, if you are brave.  The signs on site indicated that if the tunnel had not been cut through the mountain, there would have been an arduous task of creating six additional miles of canal, crossing difficult terrain, the river, and many other obstacles.  It took fourteen years to complete the tunnel, 1836-1850, and it’s lined with six million bricks.  I cannot imagine the hardship.

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Lonaconing Silk Mill

I had the great pleasure of going on an adventure in western Maryland last weekend.  I had read about the Lonanconing Silk Mill and I knew it was going to be a photographer’s dream.  A group of photographers, armed with flashlights, multiple lenses and tripods, and dressed in layers of warm clothing, spent six hours there on a day when the outside temperatures were in the 40s.  There is no electricity, and therefore no heat or light other than what comes through the windows of this immense building. The silk mill closed in July 1957, and on that day workers walked out, leaving personal belongings, mill records and all the machinery intact. The Lonaconing Silk Mill (originally called the Klotz Throwing Company) is the last intact silk mill in the United States. The mill was responsible for twisting raw silk into thread, and in its early years it created fine silk thread for wedding gowns.  Two world wars and a depression caused ups and downs in the economy and in the production at the mill, ultimately leading to a change to rayon in the early 40s.  During the depression the mill reorganized as the General Textile Mills Company.

My first impression of the mill was that it must have been a noisy place to work.  It was built in 1907, with additions in 1916 and 1946.  Much of the equipment was belt-driven and there are rows and rows of metal that a genius must have designed.  I have no mind for engineering, so it was unfathomable to me how any of this worked.  It didn’t matter, because the shapes, colors, leading lines and odd pieces of personal property were intriguing.  Another thing I suspect about this mill is that most of the workers were women.  I haven’t read that anywhere, but the personal effects left behind seem to indicate that.  Of course, in those days, the management would have been male, and the maintenance of the  equipment would have been done by men as well.  The third thing that is worth mentioning is that the mill has no signs of mice, bats, or any other kind of animal because there is no food or water source. Windows are broken, perhaps by kids practicing their throwing skills, and paint is chipping off the walls and ceilings.  It is interesting to see how a building ages, what changes and what stays intact.  Take a look at my images to see what you can learn about the Lonaconing Silk Mill.

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