35mm Film Photography – One Hit Wonders: Abandoned in Tennessee

As much as I love to immerse myself in dramatic landscapes, I am generally underwhelmed by my nature photography. So it’s good that I am fascinated by the roadside oddities, quiet city streets, and man-made structures that have begun their return to the earth.

Film seems an appropriate medium for capturing these less-than-perfect subjects. There is beauty in decay.

35mm photography photograph A tree grows out of an abandoned building in McMinnille, Tennessee

“Rooted or Rootless”
McMinnville, Tennessee
Summer 2013( Maybe earlier?)

***As with all my film photos, presented as captured, unedited.***

Into film photography? See more of mine here, or follow me on instagram.

5 Replies to “35mm Film Photography – One Hit Wonders: Abandoned in Tennessee”

  1. This is a great photo, Marsi. It really captures the decay and takes us to a bygone day. From the dead tree to the chipped and fading brick to the splotchy foreground, the whole composition pulls us in to a place long past its productivity and purpose. When I first read your title “film photography” I thought you were making films, and I wondered why the picture wasn’t moving! Lol. So do you scan your photos in? Do you put the actual photos in an album, or what do you do with them?

    I too love to take photos (digital) of man-made structures left to decay and dereliction. I also love photos of signs, fading ads on the sides of old brick buildings, and kitschy things like old Americana and the things along the old Route 66. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I am kind of obsessed with scenes such as this. The slow story of the historic building’s demise is a mystery to me, although we all know the likely ending will be its complete return to the earth. The building is beautiful in this state of decay, being reclaimed by nature. Yet we are not allowed to forget man’s presence because of the new “no trespassing” sign posted. Nature is winning the battle against man’s “progress”, but surely only temporarily.

      I’d love to see a series of your shots of structures returning to the earth! Route 66 presents so many photo ops like this. Tucumcari is one of my favorite towns for shooting film pictures because there are so many examples of both interesting states of decay and of really nicely restored structures from a bygone golden era of travel.

      In our metro area of almost 1/2 a million people, would you believe that there is not a single photo lab left processing color film? (There are a couple of small labs that will develop black and white film, though they are understandably pricey). Once we’ve shot 10-15 rolls, we ship them to The Darkroom Labs in California (the darkroom.com). They develop and scans rolls of 35mm or 120mm film starting at $11 a roll. Even their basic scans are usually quite good. I wasn’t been happy with their 120 film matte finish prints (square format), but haven’t actually had them make any 35mm prints.

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      1. I bet you would love the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Marsi. It really takes you down memory lane. As for buildings in states of decay, I have collected many throughout my travels, especially in Nepal, India, Oman and along Route 66. I’ll have to do a post about them sometime.
        That is crazy about the photo labs disappearing. The world changes so much each day. I hate how so many retailers are going out of business because of Amazon and how you can barely find a good bookstore these days. When I wanted to buy a new camera, I found all of our local camera stores were closed and I sadly had to order one online! I really dislike that we can’t go try something out before buying. 🙂

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      2. I may make it to Cincinnati this year. If so, I will definitely visit the Sign museum. Thanks for the tip!

        During our travels this year, we were really happy to see so many independent bookstores thriving in smaller cities and towns. Even with a packed car when we started our trip, we must have brought home 30 books (some new, some used), all purchased at indie bookstores throughout the western U.S. We made a new friend in Silver City, NM, talking politics with the Irish bookstore owner. He was a hoot.

        I just heard on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” today that supermodels carrying books around have made books a “hot accessory”. Ha! Well, whatever it takes to get people reading physical books again, and even better if they are vintage!

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      3. I’m glad you found so many independent bookstores, Marsi. I love them, and whenever I find one, I try to buy at least one book to show my support. I don’t know about carrying books as accessories! As long as they’re being read, and well-cared for! 🙂

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