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― Architecture CritiqueSt Mary's

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minniev
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St Mary's

Post by minniev » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:20 am

I'd like to know whether you think color or sepia works better, and make any suggestions for either, please.

This is my first photo adventure in a month or so. Went to Natchez with husband for a conference, and while he and my best friend were in sessions, her husband and I went on a hunt for an old chapel I'd read about but never found, way back in the wilderness of rural Adams county. The chapel was built in 1833 on a plantation that was established in the 1750s. We found remnants of the old house, mostly collapsed but with a couple of tilted turrets that had people living in them. There were signs all along the rutted dirt road telling us it was posted, no trespassing, vicious dogs, etc. but we persevered, made lots of wrong turns, and finally came upon the little chapel in a clearing. It's in bad shape, but still standing. We couldn't get into it. But I was pleased to have found this beautiful relic. The dogs, by the way, were not vicious at all, they were big but quite friendly and accompanied us on our walk. I wished for better weather but we haven't had any decent weather since Christmas so it wasn't surprising.
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Post by PietFrancke » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:39 am

wonderful story and it looks like an incredible structure, surprised it hasn't been repaired it is so beautiful. (It does not look completely abandoned as the grass is super short for something neglected. For me the sepia has a depth and mood and magic that is not matched by the color version.

I'm glad the dogs were friendly and how is Zeke doing?

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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:15 am

PietFrancke wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:39 am
wonderful story and it looks like an incredible structure, surprised it hasn't been repaired it is so beautiful. (It does not look completely abandoned as the grass is super short for something neglected. For me the sepia has a depth and mood and magic that is not matched by the color version.

I'm glad the dogs were friendly and how is Zeke doing?
Thanks Piet. It is indeed very beautiful, probably the prettiest small chapel in our state It looks like it could be in Scotland or England. Yes, there is some care of the grounds going on, and someone has locked it, so they want to prevent folks from damaging the inside. But I saw no sign of any renovation in the past century or so.

I thought it might be a good backdrop for a composite at some point, it is very gothic looking. Whether for birds or Victorian ladies, I’m not sure yet. I got reminded of a story from my teen years this weekend, someone ran a reprise of “Lady in Red” on some internet site and it has showed up a lot more places. Lady in Red was dug out of the ground a few miles from my home when I was a teenager. She was perfectly preserved, breathtakingly beautiful, dressed in red velvet and expensive jewelry, and buried in an airtight glass coffin. The folks who acccidently dug her up with a backhoe on Egypt plantation broke the glass so within a few hours she had begun to deteriorate. My father, editor of the county paper, was called to take photographs of this weird event. No one ever figured out who she might have been but the state crime lab said she was buried about 1840 and in her teens when she died. She was reburied in the city cemetery. So now that this story has returned to me I thought of trying to create it and use this as a setting...Any ideas?

Zeke is very much at home.
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Post by Duck » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:59 am

Hi Minnie, I have to agree that it's a gorgeous find. Not only is the structure quite interesting but the surrounding landscape is gorgeous as well.

Personally I have no preference either way regarding color or black and white. What I do see is an overall even tonality on both versions that lack focus on a subject. You have such a strong and beautiful subject and it should be presented to the viewer without reservation. With your permission, here are two quick edits to illustrate what I mean.

St Marys-1.jpg
Color
St Marys-2.jpg
Black and White
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Post by PietFrancke » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:21 am

in the early 1900s, the selling of glass coffins was part of a major scam. Apparently they would have been extremely difficult to build and few ultimately were delivered. My 3 minutes of research indicates that perhaps the glass casing was filled with alcohol (which perhaps preserved the body in a way similar to how an insect might be preserved - lady in a large bottle).

Oh to be able to ask your father about this event - any pictures remaining, etc...

But for my knowledge of you, I would immediately have written this off as folklore or urban legend. Perhaps a vampire that was exposed to sunlight and died a horrible death a second time. Perhaps the unknown location of a pre-history Indian city complete with it's own magic and hauntings. Certainly a story of love and loss that includes the very rich, the very beautiful, and river boats.

A state crime lab has the details of the coffin in their documents - might be hard to verify if she was well preserved or if that was just a case of tall tale telling and embellishment, but they certainly would have an idea of the nature of the coffin.

I like the idea of a darker sepia image with a beautiful petite woman strolling the ground wearing a red gown and jewelry and the wind would blow through her hair. Of course the woman would not be sepia. She was seen going to St' Mary's (likely to make a confession that resulted in her untimely death by brutal murder). Perhaps a team of horses with a coffin to pull waiting by the side and a caretaker dressed in black. Perhaps she could be sitting in the coffin. Did she go to St Mary's for her confession? Or did she go to St Mary's for her last rites?

Duck - that is beautiful work that you accomplished - beautiful feeling of depth and immersion, the trees and field are so perfect in these images, a real compliment to the chapel.

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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:55 am

PietFrancke wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:21 am
in the early 1900s, the selling of glass coffins was part of a major scam. Apparently they would have been extremely difficult to build and few ultimately were delivered. My 3 minutes of research indicates that perhaps the glass casing was filled with alcohol (which perhaps preserved the body in a way similar to how an insect might be preserved - lady in a large bottle).

Oh to be able to ask your father about this event - any pictures remaining, etc...

But for my knowledge of you, I would immediately have written this off as folklore or urban legend. Perhaps a vampire that was exposed to sunlight and died a horrible death a second time. Perhaps the unknown location of a pre-history Indian city complete with it's own magic and hauntings. Certainly a story of love and loss that includes the very rich, the very beautiful, and river boats.

A state crime lab has the details of the coffin in their documents - might be hard to verify if she was well preserved or if that was just a case of tall tale telling and embellishment, but they certainly would have an idea of the nature of the coffin.

I like the idea of a darker sepia image with a beautiful petite woman strolling the ground wearing a red gown and jewelry and the wind would blow through her hair. Of course the woman would not be sepia. She was seen going to St' Mary's (likely to make a confession that resulted in her untimely death by brutal murder). Perhaps a team of horses with a coffin to pull waiting by the side and a caretaker dressed in black. Perhaps she could be sitting in the coffin. Did she go to St Mary's for her confession? Or did she go to St Mary's for her last rites?

Duck - that is beautiful work that you accomplished - beautiful feeling of depth and immersion, the trees and field are so perfect in these images, a real compliment to the chapel.
Thanks for some great ideas!
I was so regretful at the time that I was at school and didn’t have a chance to go see this. My father, who was most unexciteable, got very animated about the story. I remember the pictures being disappointing - black and white, sort of forensic, but not very clear, the body somewhat hidden by the broken coffin glass. He must have been overexcited because he was a better photographer than that. I have some photos from the newspaper but I’ve never run across those. I’ve vowed to look again to be sure. I got better information verbally from him and the sons of the plantation manager, who were near my age. No one said anything back then about the coffin being totally filled with alcohol, but they thought there was a liner that some kind of preservative liquid in it, and when that broke, it spilled some inside, and let air in, after which she began to change. I still have a means to contact the great granddaughter of the folks who owned Egypt at that time, and can ask if there’s more than what’s generally available. I remember that they were doing some research to pursue it. I’d forgotten about her til I saw something on facebook a few days ago. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/141 ... ady-in-red
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:56 am

Duck wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:59 am
Hi Minnie, I have to agree that it's a gorgeous find. Not only is the structure quite interesting but the surrounding landscape is gorgeous as well.

Personally I have no preference either way regarding color or black and white. What I do see is an overall even tonality on both versions that lack focus on a subject. You have such a strong and beautiful subject and it should be presented to the viewer without reservation. With your permission, here are two quick edits to illustrate what I mean.


St Marys-1.jpg

St Marys-2.jpg
Very nice. Thanks for giving me some ideas about making these better!
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by PietFrancke » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:32 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:55 am
PietFrancke wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:21 am
in the early 1900s, the selling of glass coffins was part of a major scam. Apparently they would have been extremely difficult to build and few ultimately were delivered. My 3 minutes of research indicates that perhaps the glass casing was filled with alcohol (which perhaps preserved the body in a way similar to how an insect might be preserved - lady in a large bottle).

Oh to be able to ask your father about this event - any pictures remaining, etc...

But for my knowledge of you, I would immediately have written this off as folklore or urban legend. Perhaps a vampire that was exposed to sunlight and died a horrible death a second time. Perhaps the unknown location of a pre-history Indian city complete with it's own magic and hauntings. Certainly a story of love and loss that includes the very rich, the very beautiful, and river boats.

A state crime lab has the details of the coffin in their documents - might be hard to verify if she was well preserved or if that was just a case of tall tale telling and embellishment, but they certainly would have an idea of the nature of the coffin.

I like the idea of a darker sepia image with a beautiful petite woman strolling the ground wearing a red gown and jewelry and the wind would blow through her hair. Of course the woman would not be sepia. She was seen going to St' Mary's (likely to make a confession that resulted in her untimely death by brutal murder). Perhaps a team of horses with a coffin to pull waiting by the side and a caretaker dressed in black. Perhaps she could be sitting in the coffin. Did she go to St Mary's for her confession? Or did she go to St Mary's for her last rites?

Duck - that is beautiful work that you accomplished - beautiful feeling of depth and immersion, the trees and field are so perfect in these images, a real compliment to the chapel.
Thanks for some great ideas!
I was so regretful at the time that I was at school and didn’t have a chance to go see this. My father, who was most unexciteable, got very animated about the story. I remember the pictures being disappointing - black and white, sort of forensic, but not very clear, the body somewhat hidden by the broken coffin glass. He must have been overexcited because he was a better photographer than that. I have some photos from the newspaper but I’ve never run across those. I’ve vowed to look again to be sure. I got better information verbally from him and the sons of the plantation manager, who were near my age. No one said anything back then about the coffin being totally filled with alcohol, but they thought there was a liner that some kind of preservative liquid in it, and when that broke, it spilled some inside, and let air in, after which she began to change. I still have a means to contact the great granddaughter of the folks who owned Egypt at that time, and can ask if there’s more than what’s generally available. I remember that they were doing some research to pursue it. I’d forgotten about her til I saw something on facebook a few days ago. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/141 ... ady-in-red
so strange, the dates they chose to use on the tombstone.. (find date instead of unknown death date). The makings of a gothic novel for sure. Liner makes more sense.. Amazing that the preservation worked so well (and a mystery to me that the decomposition occurred so rapidly). We live in a strange world for sure!

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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:49 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:32 pm
\
so strange, the dates they chose to use on the tombstone.. (find date instead of unknown death date). The makings of a gothic novel for sure. Liner makes more sense.. Amazing that the preservation worked so well (and a mystery to me that the decomposition occurred so rapidly). We live in a strange world for sure!
Lexington is a tiny village, and the local authorities were not the sharpest tools in the shed. When the state folks saw she'd been dead over a century they were no longer interested and gave her back to the locals.

It was quite an absorbing mystery in the day.
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Post by Psjunkie » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:42 pm

Most has been said..I am more of a b/w guy than toned, having said that I find nothing discouraging for me with the sepia..I tend to agree with Piet about it’s impact as opposed to the color…They both have their own feel so really depends on what you want to convey…Definitely a candidate for composite…well captured minniev.

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