A Frank Myers photo essay: Glimpses of the past; quiet places that are empty, broken and abandoned.

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 23, 2013  Artists use their paint brushes to present their interpretation of a person or a scene.  There are traditionalists, modernists, post modernists and some artists whose work look as much like a photograph at it does a painting.

Where is the line between photography and art?  There are photographers who have found ways to use light, filters and the angle they shoot from to “interpret a scene much the way an artist uses brush strokes and colour to interpret what their eyes capture.

The differences between art and photography are vast and the similarities at times almost eerie.  In the photo essay that follow Frank Myers, captures glimpses of the past

By Frank Myers.

Since my earliest days as a photographer, I’ve been fascinated by the exploration of forgotten places. There is a certain resonance there – a palpable sense of lives lived and the passage of time. There is more to it though; I also see much beauty in the old and decrepit and this combination is what makes abandoned places irresistible to me.

The passage of time also interests me. One useful aspect of photography is its ability to interrupt that process by capturing a moment in time. Although the rate of decay differs from one site to the next, it’s interesting to me that I’m capturing a unique moment in this process.

And it is a process; I have been able to return to some of these sites over the years and observed how, in many cases, nature reclaims the space once occupied by mankind.

These remnants of the past are crumbling and disappearing daily. I believe it’s a worthy pursuit  to interrupt that process and capture some of the resonance and beauty they contain through photography.

Frank Myers is a member of the Latow Photographers Guild. The photographs in this essay are the property of Frank Myers and cannot be used without his express permission.  Myers can be reached rs4@gmail.com  You can see more of Frank’s work at https://frankmyersphoto.ca/


In Northern Ontario, many mining towns are threatened once the ore runs out. This abandoned gas station is located in a town that has been deserted since the late 1960s. Aside from a few homes salvaged as cottages, this town has mostly been reclaimed by nature.

This image is from the cemetery at a silver mining village near Thunder Bay. The mine operated on a tiny island in Lake Superior for only 16 years, closing in 1884 when it was irretrievably flooded. Now lost in the woods, the cemetery holds many graves, perhaps a testament to the dangerous working conditions and harsh life on the shore of Lake Superior.

Farmland is abandoned or given over to other uses every day in Canada. Much of what passes for farmland in Canada is marginal, but that hasn’t stopped enterprising souls from attempting to farm the land in many rugged areas. All over Canada, derelict farm houses hold the stories of those hard-working families.This farm house near Blind River is covered with graffiti and the upper floor is collapsing. To me, it still remains beautiful and it’s easy to imagine the family living within its rooms or relaxing on the verandah in the evenings.

This house on the outskirts of Burlington has been abandoned for years. Although heavily vandalized and near collapse, it contains many signs of the lives lived within its walls. Notice the jars that appear to hold dried beans or peas on the kitchen counter.

I often take time while travelling to search out abandoned spaces that I’ve learned about on-line or from other photographers. This is a cell block at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. When it opened in 1829, its architecture was revolutionary, as was the theory that strict isolation was the key to reform. This soon became a model for prison design. It finally closed in 1971 and is now operated as a historic site.

Unlike the penitentiary, few derelict institutional and industrial spaces are public. For that reason, this one will be unnamed. It’s an abandoned railway freight terminal somewhere in the United States. Inside, one can easily feel reminders of the years when untold tons of freight were handled by several generations of workers.

Across Canada, particularly along the Trans-Canada Highway, we pass many remnants of a vanished way of life. These are the derelict gas stations, motels and restaurants where often-independent operators made their living serving the travelling public. Situated on Highway 69 north of Parry Sound, this must have once been a busy operation, with its gas pumps, service bays and restaurant.

At one time motels like this one, a motel and campground operation, were popular with travellers. Although they were rustic by current standards, their remains show a variety and individuality missing in today’s operations.






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