Sunday, July 7, 2013

Canajoharie New York and it's Dummy Light

So we drove to Canajoharie, N.Y.  today to see a photography exhibit at the Arkell Museum, a selection of about 35 photos on loan from an art museum in Syracuse, N.Y.  My main motivation for going was to see an original print of the photo of Edward Weston and Margarethe Mather taken by Imogene Cunningham and displayed on the cover of the book- A Passionate Collaboration, one of my favorite photographs and one of the best portraits ever taken.  The original was a sepia colored platinum/palladium print, however the one in the exhibit was a b&w silver print, obviously printed much later, which was a bit of a disappointment.

While there we enjoyed the small museum with its lovely collection and explored the town which may be at the beginning of a slow, inexorable decline, now that Beech Nut foods, it's main employer has left town, and left them with a large, sprawling, empty plant, an ever increasing number of empty store fronts and some sense of desperation about the future, a feeling that is not uncommon among a vast number of places across the country that have been abandoned by their primary employer.  Presently the town is in great physical shape, and as always, I am hoping they will find a way to repurpose themselves before the decay starts to set in.  Here are a few photos taken of the still lovely village...

A little research on the town informed me that this is called a "dummy light".  It is reported to be one of only 3 in NYS, and possibly the whole country.  It is unique and the best example of its type, but many people in the town find it to cause confusion and to be an overall nuisance to the orderly flow of traffic and want it removed.   They are fools.  With the loss of Beech-Nut, if they took the light away, what would be left?

Church Street looking north.

This last  one is a picture of the abandoned Beech Nut plant taken from the memorial garden at the Arkell Museum.  Mr. Arkell who founded the company and contributed most of what comprises the lovely collection in the museum seems like someone who cared alot about the well being of his town and its people, most of whom worked for him, would most certainly be quite unhappy about the sad state of affairs created by decisions made by the present owners of his creation.