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Too Many Images... GBO Take II

If you haven't read the blog post - Gbo Take I - about our first photo shoot in Greensboro, you might want to take a couple minutes to familiarize yourself with the noodley way things seem to happen in my photographic life. However, this post will stand on its own, so don't stress.

Walter, "the guy" in the know in Greensboro, gave me another heads up on a building demo he was working on. This building is just on the other side of the train tracks from the downtown district and poised for gentrification. Apparently, this building was a meat packing plant - creeeeepy. It was being demo'd to be converted into a Music Artist Space (I really should go back and see if this plan came to fruition as it has been a couple years). So, Walter calls, says "hey, I got something for ya" and nuthin' do'in, I am on my way up to Gbo to check it out. Trying to remember if I even waited for the kids to come home from school. I try not to go into creepy places by myself and my kids would definitely have saved me if the need arose... it's this kind of thinking that gets me in trouble.

This is Walter

There was definitely a looming, sinister feel to the space. Immediately my wheels were rolling. From the outside a very unobtrusive, unassuming brick building, the area in general more industrial. Coming in from the side with docks and offices to one side... I offered a "hulloo" and went up to the second floor an open space, to say "hey" to Walter. They still had a lot of work to do but he showed me around a bit. There was a large dark room (to be fair, the whole place was dark except that large front room) with huge long metal tubes and slats down to the lower floor - well not really slats, the floor went to about 18 inches from the wall on either side, with the tubes on on side and a knee wall on the other. I still can't figure out how it was originally used. I’ll blame that lack of knowledge about meat packing plants, I guess. Oh and then the freezer room. Did I say creepy? The freezer room was cool, bare bulb, you can imagine the stark feel. Oh wait you don't have to here are the snaps!

We even toured the basement, with rusty stuff and possibly discarded brains. The words of my youngest daughter ringing in my head, "we shouldn't be here, Mama."

Maybe it's the potential energy that takes over and all I could really think is, "I have GOT to get a rock band in here". A few other assundry rooms followed, but my ideas were quickly gelling. The roof was also on my docket. I quickly discussed some ideas with Walter to see if there was anything off limits and it was good. Gosh, I nearly forgot, while I was "touring" the digs, apparently the owner of the place came by and wanted to see progress, etc... Awkward! The monied bigwigs always seem to have an air about them… but what, they put their jeans on one leg at a time just like us, right? Except they are $250 jeans instead of Levis.

I knew I had to work fast, Walter wasn't going to hold up work on my account. I immediately called a local band, The Sherman Neckties and told them about this opportunity. They were game! I don’t remember what our turn around time was, but no more than a couple days. I told the band guys what we were working with and they were stoked.

Felipa and I also had something going. Building on one of my portfolios, “See Currents”. I planned to put her in a red dress and then again with the chiffon - red this time and I wanted it to be oodles and oodles. In order to move “oodles and oodles” of fabric, we would need a big fan. You know you can rent those big fans? Well, I got the biggest fan that would fit into my old Pacifica - 4 feet if you can believe it! As for the chiffon, I had to drive all over tarnation because my local fabric store didn’t have enough. What was I thinking?

Day of the whole shebang arrives and everyone was converging on this decrepit, creepy, meat packing plant. I rushed 'cross Gbo to get the big ass fan and ran back to the location just in time. The guys from The Sherman Neckties had just pulled in and Felipa and her dude, Klay, weren’t far behind. I hauled out all the gear and started schlepping that big fan up the stairs. I decided, while we had good light, to get the shots of the band guys. The freezer room, the tube room, the bathroom, the front room and the roof. It was good and pretty easy peazy, except the whatever goo was on the floor…. Extension cords with goo, Yay!

Time was bawlin’, we finished up the guys on the roof, they split and it was time to get some wind on Felipa and the "oodles and oodles" of chiffon. A 4 foot fan is NOT light. Sunset was in a hurry while we were still hauling the damn fan up the stairs. This is where my failures, raw edges and learning come in. We got everything set up on the roof, the air was deadly still in the heat, but that’s why we brought the damn fan, right. You wouldn’t think chiffon to be heavy but maybe it was the “oodles and oodles” that made it less than ideal. We did what we could in the last glimmers of sunlight, some good shadows but really not what I had anticipated or envisioned.

In full on dark, we were hauling this big fan back down four flights of stairs - poor Klay didn’t know what he was getting into when he started dating my daughter. Sweaty, and a bit more than defeated, I jammed the fan back in the trusty Pacifica - honestly jammed, as it incurred a couple of scars from my frustrations….

And that was that… Again, I slipped Walter some cash, bid adieu and limped home. The photos of the Sherman Neckties were baller. I love them, they have a great look to them and are still viable today, even though much, much to my sadness the band is on… hiatus, as lives of a bunch of young guys have to move forward.

Felipa’s red wind photos I was never pleased with. I really had to push the light and they are too grainy for my taste. I have messed with them a few times but they will gather digital dust in the recesses of my hard drives.

So, why do I do this stuff? Occasionally, I have to answer the question. Money was spent and not recuperated. What were the takeaways?

For me it is usually easy to justify. Mostly, it’s fun! The adrenalin and discovery is a blast. The learning curve in those few days or hours is vertical. What works, what doesn’t. I know you can’t go through life just having a blast, adventuring and having fun… but why not sometimes? Why not shake the jar every once in a while - see if we are still alive...

“Adventure isn’t hanging off of a rope on the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude we must apply to day to day obstacles” -John Amat

And in the end, we learned a few things along the way. Keep adventuring and sometimes peg that learning curve vertical.

As Always, Kyra

A hearty Thank You to all those involved:

-The Sherman Neckties - You can find them on You Tube and Spotify, etc….

-Felipa Benjamin - Model and photographer extraordinaire.

You can find her on Instagram

-Klay St Cyr for the muscle

-Walter - Demo Man, where ever he might be working and killin’ it.


PD - I did do a little research on the property... it still waits. money, grants, etc... Here is an article.


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