The Long Way Home


Mon Valley: Chapter Two
January 22, 2014, 6:05 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , ,
Route 88 apartment building.

Route 88 apartment building.

Last week, Jeff and I had our portraits done by a group of teenagers at Creative Citizen Studios, a nonprofit “celebrating artists with disabilities.” We also got the opportunity to present our artwork. I displayed the originals of the photos in this post on a table and watched as the kids looked them over. They had great questions: When were these photos taken? They look older. What can you do with a chicken that big? How did the photo [of the houses] get like that? This one, one kid said, holding it close to his face – has a ghost –  matter-of-factly before shuffling it back, and I thought, holy shit, that’s pretty wild. I tried taking a photo on the second floor of the notorious haunted antiques store that day, and the camera mysteriously jammed. How could he have known this? I included it to show the class some common mistakes in instant photography, how not everything in art is perfect. We left the class that night with a gift: drawings of the house with the sun setting behind it, and a tiny pig tucked in one corner. It made me happy to see them continuing stories from where I started them. I’m especially excited to have the class as our featured artists for the March Penn Arts installation, stay tuned.

Sundown, Charleroi.

Sundown, Charleroi.

Small factory behind a CoGo's, Charleroi.

Small factory behind a CoGo’s, Charleroi.

Camera mishap in the haunted antiques store. A ghost messing with my shit, perhaps?

Camera malfunction  in the haunted antiques store. A ghost messing with me, perhaps?

Giant piggy (bank) and a peek of sun, Charleroi.

Giant piggy (bank) and a peek of sun, Charleroi.

Mr. Chicken, Route 88.

Mr. Chicken, Route 88.

Somewhere off the main road: A tiny view of the Mon Valley.

Somewhere off the main road: A tiny view of the Mon Valley.

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13 Comments so far
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Very cool. How did you hear of Creative Citizens?

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Comment by motherblue212

Creative Citizen is run by our friend Kirsten, who is also an artist. If you want to get involved in any way, let me know – it’s a fantastic group of kids and sitting for them was a lot of fun!

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Comment by Lisa

So amazing.

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Comment by motherblue212

Very enjoyable photos and funny too: loved the pig, rooster, coat of arms and even the chairs! Its kind of appropriate that an old antiques store would be haunted. Loved the tiny view of the valley–magical. Thanks for sharing.

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Comment by Michael Williamson

Thanks, Michael. Oh, that tiny view: I had this idea that the I could stand on the edge of the massive hill and get the view from there – I forgot about the trees (haha). A good example of how I get these ideas, and then something else comes out of them.

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Comment by Lisa

Ghosts for real! That is a creepy photo.

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Comment by Bill

And it was never meant to be – I kind of like how haywire it looks.

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Comment by Lisa

Completely smitten with the giant piggy bank.

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Comment by greg

Mr. Piggy is quite rad. If only we had enough room to give him a home in our junk-haven!

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Comment by Lisa

Definitely creepy about the ghost. I was surprised when he mentioned it (but I still don’t think that place is haunted).

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Comment by Jeff

Bah, you’re no fun. I like thinking that there was a ghost at hand in that crazy place!

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Comment by Lisa

Creepy bit about the ghost!

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Comment by angelinahue

I thought so too! I like the idea that ghosts may exist, so I thought it was especially creepy when, instead of seeing a mistake, he saw a “ghost.”

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Comment by Lisa




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