Time Goes By

Sometimes it is possible to end up working on a project without realizing it.  As odd as that sounds I have been working on what has become a sort of project without knowing it.

This began as a very simple request, I was asked to take a photo of an old school building before it was torn down.
Click for a larger view.  You may purchase a print of this photo here.

This particular building was home to St. Joseph school (and later renamed Gehlen Catholic) in my hometown of LeMars, Ia.  As the area, town and school grew additional buildings were built and eventually the original structure was no longer used or even safe to use.  On the right side of the photo you can see the original church and pastor's house.  Just a few weeks after I took this shot the building was gone.  Talk about lucky timing.  The pastors house is no longer there either.  The block looked very different to say the least.

At the same time it was becoming evident that the original church building was in need of a major overhaul or replacement.  It was decided a new church would be built since the existing structure was meant to stand for around 50 years but was now 100 years old.  The cost to repair and update was too great.  Again I was asked to take a final photo of the beautiful gothic style building.

Click for a larger view.
To purchase this image click here.
By the time I was asked to take the photo the church was no longer being used.  The inside had been pretty much gutted and the members had been using the gymnasium in the school for Mass on Sundays.  Again timing was with me, demolition started a few days after capturing this image.  The construction of the new church was also underway.  It was being built just down the block where the school once stood.  The plan was coming together and I had been asked to capture another piece of the process.

As I took this shot I thought it would be cool to take a photo of the old and new church together.  I simply walked a few feet and I immediately knew I had the vantage point I wanted.  I was able to get a photo of the old and new, the passing on and passing onto.  As I pressed the shutter I had the thought to use a process I normally am not 100% sold on, I would use selective coloring.  Not so much selective as fading from black and white to color.  To me the old in black in white fading into color for the new just fit.  I have to say I believe it worked out for this shot.

Click for a larger view.
To purchase this image click here.
Things do come full circle back to the school with the building of the new church.  When the old school was brought down a collection of bricks was saved and people were able to purchase bricks and have their name and year or years they attended the school engraved on them.  As the new church was built a courtyard and patio area was planned in the back of the building.  The patio area is fairly enclosed since it is between the church and part of the high school buildings.  Along with the engraved bricks the cornerstone from the original school was saved and placed above the patio area making a very nice display that will remind people of the history of the church and school.

As you can see a single request for one photo has turned into a project documenting a transformation of an area.  As things progress I will capture more images of the metamorphosis of the area.  This has been a fun project so far being able to watch the changes take place as a part of my hometown evolves and changes.  Too many times I find that if we do not pay attention we can miss watching the evolution of town, place or area.  So there you have it; a project that formed itself almost by itself.   

Click for a larger view


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