Welles Garage and Machine Shop { 50 images } Created 19 Oct 2014

Welles Garage

Welles Garage was founded in 1915 by Albert Welles. As one of the few service stations providing fuel in the area for new automobile owners the business grew and the garage moved to is current space in 1936. Quickly Welles Garage became one of the staples of the community. Much like the country Welles garage has evolved over time. At its height, before the second world war, Albert employed two mechanics, two machinists, and a book keeper. By 1960 there was one only machinist. In 1975 Albert, now in his eighties retired, and his grandson, Peter, took over the garage. Since then the shop has served local farmers and fishermen repairing and machining parts for their equipment.

The garage now is much like a time capsule. It still has the original machines - lathes, drills, saws - many of which were manufactured in the late 1800s. All of these machines are powered by drive shafts which criss-cross the ceiling and belts which swoop down to gears and levers. There are old auto parts, belts, automotive manuals, many which may have not been moved for decades. Welles garage is much like looking at the rings of an old tree which give hints of what life was like back to its origins.

The project is broken into three parts - the shop, the work, and Peter. All of these parts provided many photographic opportunities. In the shop there is so much too look at - wonderful shapes, curves, lines, tones, light reflecting off the machines, details hiding in shadows. It starts to be come abstract. These images attempt to use this idea and many of the compositions are based on abstract paintings, such as Nude Descending a Stair Case by Marcel Duchamp. Activities such as welding and sandblasting create smoke, spark, and swirling dust in the air which diffuses light in to beautiful patterns. The last part is images of Peter himself - portraits and details - which seek to provide some insight into his character.

While Peter can literally walk to any part of the shop and find what he is looking for it is unlikely any one else could find any order in the place. This was the most daunting of the photographic challenges of this project. The garage can be over whelming. So much stuff which seems to be randomly placed. These images seek to present this feeling while at the same time attempting to control the chaos of the shop, to find order in the piles of old parts and machines. They are an attempt to capture all the layers and details and unify them into something simple.
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