I had no idea until I looked before writing this that I hadn't posted a word since June. That was definitely not my intent. The intent to write has been there, but I think the small bit of mental motivation just didn't seem to be there. Luckily the little nudge I needed has come around.
This summer has seen me do more traveling than I think I've ever done in a single season. First was Washington state to start off the summer, then a 336 mile bike ride up the C&O Canal Trail and Great Allegheny Passage (DC to Pittsburgh), and quickly followed by my first trip to the beach in about six years. Now, as I sit typing this, I am sitting in the kitchen at my parents' house just outside of Camden, SC. It may not sound like a vacation, and by definition it might not be, but if you could see the scenery you'd understand how it could be perceived as such. If nothing else, I'm getting a chance to have quality time with Aida and her canine cousins: Bubba, Grace, and Max. It has been far more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
If anyone is familiar with the area north of Camden, they know there isn't much out here. Basically it is the rural south, farmland and forest. I've been riding my bike in the mornings and, outside of a small morning influx caused by two schools just up the road, there is practically no traffic. It's a little odd since I'm more used to heavier traffic flow, but it has allowed me to look around more and scout some places to go shoot in the next day or two.
Before I go after the things I found on my rides I decided to go into Camden and check out town on my own for a change. Amazingly, until this trip, I had never really gone into town by myself. For a town as small as it is, it seems that Camden has been able to fend off the death of its "main street" area. Most of this, I'd assume, is due to some factors that help it out. It is the county seat of Kershaw County, has a huge equestrian community, and is historically significant in the Revolutionary War battles of South Carolina, battles that arguably won the war. Although it is far from a bustling metropolis, the "downtown" area is far more vibrant than I think most would expect to find in a city this size.
What I found interesting as I was shooting was how many buildings I saw that have been repurposed. I have been interested recently in how many closed and abandoned gas stations I had been noticing in the area where I live. Although some have been reused for other businesses, most of the ones I've seen have just been abandoned. My hat is off to the businesses here who have made use of what is already available instead of just dumping the building and building something new with little or no character. This actually made me think twice about where my mind was going with the abandoned stations I've been shooting.
Camden has shown me, whether it knows it or not, that there truly are places that know how to keep their city, no matter how small, thriving. This has given me some hope for these wonderful structures that are an expression of our recent past and popular culture. They may not be serving their original purpose, but the structure is still there and recognizable.
I apologize for this entry not being too much about photography, I promise the next one will be more on point. I also will make sure to get back to being more regular with my entries. Either way, thanks for reading.