Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE 2014: CENTRAL SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH

A new venue this year for Doors Open--Milwaukee was the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, located on the near east side.  The church is actually a large residence that was built in 1912 for $300,000 as a gift by a wealthy gentleman for his bride.  In 1942, the residence was sold to the SDA church for $20,000, a huge bargain, even for the late-Depression era, considering the building's size, location, and craftsmanship.  My guess would be that the building had seen a good deal of neglect.  Even so, most of the building's finer points had remained intact.

Unfortunately, from the point of view of photography, I didn't find a lot to shoot.  Much of the home's fine woodwork, though nicely preserved, was quite dark, and I simply am not good at capturing the detail of such dark surfaces.  What I got instead were a few other detail shots that, while not telling much of a story, I liked OK as stand-alone images.

The first is a detail of a concrete pillar on the building's front porch.


It was a dark and rainy afternoon, and the pillar was in heavy shade.  I wound up shooting this at an ISO of 800.  What worked here was not so much the detail but the early fall color behind.  Even though I shot this at f/11, the background was nicely out of focus.

Unlike the dark woodwork throughout the residence/church, the ceiling in what had been the formal dining room was quite light, and I shot the following two semi-abstracts of it that I converted to black & whites.  Mildly interesting, particularly the first of the two.



To avoid perspective distortion, I tried to shoot these from directly underneath.

The home had been equipped with some sort of first-generation intercom system and one of the transmitting/receiving stations had been retained, I assume simply as a curiosity.


It's difficult to see, but a few of the options refer to the Front Hall, the Library, and the Billiard Room,  among others, reminding me of the childhood game Clue.

Finally, there was stained glass--sort of.  What caught my eye was not the lead designs around the glass but the fact that one of the panes was cracked.


the circular pane on the left is actually missing, making visible some sort of pink area behind.

The sanctuary for the church, created by knocking out room partitions on the second floor and eliminating a portion of the third floor to create a two-story space, was very modestly appointed.  Having spent a good deal of time photographing the interiors of Catholic as well as other mainstream Protestant churches, I was surprised at how little adornment this facility included.  But that is in keeping with the point of view of Seventh-day Adventism, the religion in which I was raised.

John

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