Proposals: Ghost Towns and Ocean City

The photo essay I really want to do involves visiting and photographing one or more local “ghost towns”–abandoned areas in Atlantic County (and some in Burlington County) that were once areas of thriving business (namely, mills), that have been abandoned when the mills shut down. There are a number of these that are especially interesting because they have been abandoned for a relatively short amount of time for the amount of decay the mills and houses experienced, thanks to the help of the Pine Barrens being generally ruthless to man-made structures. These photo would be taken with my Nikon using a Holga lens to add an additional look of rustic decay. Alternatively, I would play off the idea of “ghost town” to purposely make the area look more haunted and mysterious through either (or both) freelensing or using a prism.

If for whatever reason the above proposal doesn’t work (due to weather, generally–all of the locales involve mile+ hikes), an a somewhat less time-restrictive and hiking-less proposal involves picking out twelve locations in Ocean City, NJ, and photographing them at two different times. Since it’s still early in the season, during the week I can grab photos of a nearly-abandoned boardwalk (possibly also taken with the Holga lens for effect), then returning during the weekend I can recreate these photos when the Boardwalk is full of life. Unfortunately this is also a bit weather-sensitive, although to a much less devastating degree since there are no hikes involved and if it’s raining Saturday, it’s easy to hop back over on a Sunday.


One comment

  1. Hi Elle,

    I think this is an excellent topic and I like the idea of using the Holga lens on your Nikon. (Can you bring both to class on Thursday and perhaps tweet a few images made using the Holga lens?)

    To get the ghostly affect, you might spend some time with Susan Burstine’s photo essay on the Readings page. She uses homemade plastic lenses, but you can achieve similar results by wrapping a camera in cellophane and putting Vaseline over the lens area.

    Please be sure to go to these places please take all necessary safety precautions: go with someone, let people know where you’ll be, etc.

    And have fun with it!


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