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The above photo is taken from the same grounds as my noir entry, Tortured Souls Remain. The Ladd Center, originally named The Exeter School for the Feeble Minded, “cared for” over 5,000 mentally handicapped Rhode Islanders in its 83 year history. For the last 40 years of its existence, there were widespread rumors of physical and mental abuse of its residents. Because of this dark past, the decaying grounds are said to be haunted.
I returned to the Ladd School to photograph the water tower on its grounds a few weeks after I shot Tortured Souls Remain. My intent was to put together a series of water tower photos (Rhode Island has many due to its industrial past) and write a story for JPG. I figured my 1950’s AGFA Clack and dr5 sepia processing would give the photo an antique feel. Instead I got another fogged image. Almost all of my previous dr5 images came out too dark.
OK, I am a computer programmer by trade; read the works of Dawkins, Gould, Diamond, Ridley, and Zimmer for fun; and thus may be described as much more Scully than Mulder… (And here it comes), BUT I have to admit that I found it spooky when yet another photo from Ladd came out fogged. On both of these separate rolls of film, processed in two entirely different ways, shot with two completely dissimilar cameras – these were the only fogged images! I never get fogged images with my Clack. This oldie-but-goodie is built like a tank and never has any light leaks. I could understand the leaks from my girlfriend’s Holga, hell that’s why you shoot with a Holga. But I really don’t know what to make of these leaks. When you see Nicole’s comment on my noir entry that, “Looks like Ladd didn't want its picture taken that day- as usual!”, you now know what she means. I can’t explain it any more than my title to these photos, perhaps tortured souls do indeed remain.
Check out Nicole Mabry'sstory and accompanying photos if you would like to know more about this processing.
Created using my 1950's AGFA Clack with Efke R50 120 (iso 50) B&W film cross processed with dr5. Positive (slide) scanned with my Epson v700 Perfection scanner. No digital manipulation used!
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