Abandoned School

Another great outing!

Our camera club arranged for a shoot in an old, abandoned school in Shenandoah, PA.

The J.W. Cooper School was built in the late 1800’s and went through a few iterations up until it was abandoned in 1992.  It was a high school for a while and a grade school for a while.

In one of the rooms, there were cards for the students.  On the front side of the cards were the students’ grades and on the back side of the cards were rudimentary health information.

In this day and age of the ubiquitous computer, it was nostalgic to think back to the time when information was kept on paper in one place.  That piece of cardstock for a given student sat in the file in the school for the entire time that the student attended that school.  Each quarter of the school term, someone had to go the card file, pull the card and enter the student’s grade for each of the classes.  Think how different that is from today, where all student information is kept on a network, where each teacher can access the network at their convenience from a location of their chosing.

There are so many opportunities for pictures when you have the run of the building.  And yet I was stymied.  I got stuck taking pictures of the stairs.  I guess I just liked the patterns of the stairs.

One fortunate thing for me was that I had Annette’s 10-22mm lens that I had bought for her for her birthday in July.  It gave me a new way to look at things.  So I used it to give my creativity a boost.  You can see how I used it in the two stairs pictures and the auditorium picture below.

Stairs in the Abandoned JW Cooper School

Wide Angle View of More Stairs in the JW Cooper School

 You could never get this much of the stairs and the doorways into the frame without a wide angle lens.

The Auditorium in the Abandoned JW Cooper School

 The wide angle lens was essential for this shot.  One of the other photographers on this trip tried to take this shot with a 24mm lens and found that she could not get as much into the frame.

Light Detail

Today when you buy a light with a milky, white shade or globe, the shade or globe is made out of plastic.  It is almost indestructible.  They want to make it safe for you to tip over the lamp!

However, when we examined a couple broken shades that were lying on the floor, we found that these white shades at the school were made of heavy, white glass.

My theory is this:  Back in the day when the school was built, people had very few possessions.  They wanted to make each item that they owned last for as long as possible.  Therefore, people were more concerned with quality and durability than in how cheaply they could purchase items.  They were willing to pay more if they thought it would last longer.

Today, we all have so many possessions, many of which are designed to be disposable.  We value our things less, which also means that many people value other people’s things less.  Are we headed in the right direction?