All aboard for a blast to the past, a “Trolley Graveyard”. Before embarking on this workshop shoot I had preconceived ideas of what I would encounter, as I had shot old trains in Connecticut about a year back. The venue in CT provided wide open spaces that showcased the trains, along with overgrowth that reached over 6 feet high in many places. After my initial eye-opener to the area, I slowly made my way to the back of the property. You might say it was literally the end of the line, in so many ways, as the tracks ended and the overgrowth was even harder to get through.
I approached this place in a backwards type of planning, for when hiking in and past the trolleys, I would take mental notes on what to shoot on my way back. This proved very rewarding as most of the group started in the front. I could line up wide and distant shots without human ‘ghosts’ walking in and out of my long exposures. The trolleys gave up their past, through patterns of decay and framed windowless panels of the fall, throughout the day. Exploring and creating, while trying not to trip on stumps, played out like a game of where not to step. The overcast day provided the perfect flat light I needed to expose the colors and decomposition found all around me.
When the time came to process these relics of a time well past, I was torn between color and black and white. The colors found at this time of year spotlighted and gave the trolleys an almost peaceful place to rest their rusting bones. When the right image was flipped to B/W, the past came alive… you could hear the sound of bells and metal screeching on tracks… the area seemed to come to life again. When turning back after my trek, I could truly feel that this was their last stop… castaways in the woods but comfortably paired with each other as if to say “we are home… just out of service.“
Old, useless, discarded… these words could be used to describe people or things. As I would never like to describe people in that sense, I will be describing things as in trains, trolleys and buses. They had seen better times and have been discarded to make way for newer models. To me this graveyard of useless vehicles became my treasure.
I was invited to shoot at “Shore Line Trolley Museum” in East Haven,CT, by two very creative professional photographers, Roman Kurywczak and Susan Candelario. We were there to shoot trains, some of them restored and others left to be worked on another day. While shooting, I quickly became entranced by all the discarded heaps of metal. They seemed to ooze with history. The rust and decay became enticing abstracts. You could envision the memories of days gone by. Other shots transformed their past into an “Old is the new NEW”
There is comfort in the past, some would say we should have a greater appreciation of it. Old is not useless, for these trolleys and buses their time is now. I believe the past can give us a sense of stability. You can feel this as you walk between each of these relics. When I began, I didn’t know where I would end up. This is so true with my photography…. I began with one preconceived idea, and after arriving, this sense of place and of times gone, but not forgotten, transformed my vision into timeless treasures.