david schrott is everywhere


Posted in Fine Living Lancaster, Personal Work by thebreakfastdictator on 02/23/2015


I took these photos for this magazine once…

Posted in Fine Living Lancaster, Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 08/15/2014

20730012 20730009 20720002


David Dietz. York, Pennsylvania

Posted in Farm Life, Fine Living Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 08/30/2013
David Dietz. Peasant at Large.

David Dietz. Peasant at Large.

Thistle Finch Distillery for FLL #27

Posted in Fine Living Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 08/15/2013
Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin

From Fine Living Lancaster’s Issue Twenty-Six. (Photos not from original article). 

It is mid-morning near Lancaster’s west end, but the heat has already overtaken the day. Inside the non-descript warehouse in the 400 block of West Grant Street, the hot smell of roasting raw coffee beans meshes with the hot, last-of-spring day. In the last fourteen months, this non-descript warehouse has undergone a significant transformation. Thistle Finch Distillery is the newest undertaking of Lancaster City resident and red-bearded entrepreneur Andrew Martin.

In 2002, after traveling to British Columbia for college and working in Alaska as well as Washington D.C., Andrew returned to Lancaster to help start up a web business. While doing so, he purchased a foreclosed home on East Orange Street that had sat vacant for seventeen years. About that process, Andrew comments, “At that point i had very little experience with construction/renovations or website development, but I still live in that same house and the web business is still going strong.  I think those two early ventures really gave me confidence that I could take on projects that were beyond my abilities/knowledge at the start but have things figured out or solved before the end.”

The property that Andrew eventually settled on was a former tobacco warehouse that was built in 1900. It was larger than the space he needed but it provided all of the necessary amenities he was looking for: a Loading dock, a basement with concrete floors and relatively high ceiling, a functioning freight elevator, a sprinkler system and lots of historic character. The building has undergone significant change in the last year-plus, but it often goes unnoticed as remarkable effort has gone into keeping as many of the changes in order with the building’s historical period. He explains, “one of my favorite aspects of the project has been reusing parts from an old barn in Lititz that I helped my friend Bryan Donovan salvage.  Beams, floor boards, siding, roof sheeting, doors, etc. from that barn have provided materials for much of the renovations/additions that I think really add to the authentic feel of the space.”

The coffee roasters continue to churn in the rear of the first floor as Martin shows me around the warehouse space. Leading into the basement, where the distillery and start up brewery (separate from Martin’s endeavors) will be housed, are beautiful, hand made stair-cases. The hazy sunshine smokes its way through the dusty basement windows illuminating the beautiful whiskey tanks that beg for their pipe-fittings (which Andrew himself is soon to be installing). The tanks were purchased from a distillery in Columbus, Ohio, which he transported, back to Lancaster himself.

As mentioned above, Square One’s coffee roasting is done on the first floor. There’s a music studio on the second floor and a start-up brewery will share the basement with the whiskey stills. Andrew’s vision for the warehouse was bigger than for just himself. He explains, “My vision for the building was to find other tenants that where involved in small production/manufacturing ventures.  I have no issues with old warehouses being turned into high end apartments and offices, but I do take some satisfaction knowing that this one will be used for actual production (at least for the foreseeable future) and that I am able to play a small part in helping to maintain industry within the city.” Once the project is complete, tours, tastings and private parties will be hosted.

Thistle Finch Distillery

Thistle Finch Distillery

Prior to Prohibition, Lancaster was an influential beer producing town. But eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland have their own history of whiskey production, which Martin finds intriguing. Rye Whiskey is spicier and leaner than Bourbon and made from rye instead of corn. After the American Revolution and the implementation of certain alcohol excise taxes, many producers migrated west to the American frontier and began producing Bourbon, but prior to Prohibition, Rye Whiskey was still the dominant style. Lancaster, with its basis in industry at the time was a significant producer of Rye, along with the equipment to produce it which was exported all over the country.  About the re-introduction of Rye Whiskey to Lancaster, Martin joyfully explains, “I’m excited to be not only starting a Rye distillery, but also to be part of a larger revival of an entire industry/product.”

Pennsylvania Dutch Folk art frequently features a bird in it, that, in German, is called “Distelfink”. This bird represents happiness and good fortune. Thistle Finch is the direct English translation of Distelfink. Martin wanted the branding not only to be excellent but to be significant to Lancaster’s beautiful mix of new world and old world culture. In adding this project to his already impressive list of business successes, he quips “I hope this venture can contribute to that.”

tilt shifting pre-iphone (2002-2007)

Posted in B&W Photography, Farm Life, Fine Living Lancaster, iPhone, Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 07/30/2013

I learned to take photos on a view camera in 2002. The process is slow. Setting up a cumbersome 4×5 takes at least 15 minutes. One of the most fascinating features of the view camera was the tilt-shift. My work at the time tended toward the dream-like and this only helped to enhance that quality. When I took my first assignments for Philly Mag in 2004 and 2005, I’d take 10 pieces of Kodak transparency film, my 4×5, and a Polaroid back. 10 frames to get it right. That was a lot of pressure then. I think with the way technology moves now, it’d be even more pressure.

In 2009, I started shooting for a magazine in Lancaster County; Fine Living Lancaster. At the time, I was trying to perfect my over-lit/over-sharp/high pass look. About a year into our working relationship, they allowed me to slow down and shoot only black and white film for their fall fashion spread. It was magnificent (if you ask me!) and I wish I’d never put down my Hasselblad. Looking back, I wish I’d stayed true to my tortoise-like pace as a photographer, but for a time, I’d bought into instant gratification. There was a time too, when dust spots and film fog drove me up a wall. Now, there’s iPhone apps that allow me to add them to my images with great generosity.

Who have I become?

Clearly a walking contradiction.

My finacee has become my muse. She’s fantastic. I put her through hell and she doesn’t complain. She kneels on her feet for hours as she poses for me and then endures the allergens of farm life as we shoot local farmers till well past sunset on a day we rose well before dawn. She pushes me in my work and is my constant encouragement. I long for the day we don’t live 2 hours apart. She’s imperative to my photo-evolution.

Thank goodness because I don’t know what I’d do without her.

The Bancroft Drawing Room

Posted in B&W Photography, Fine Living Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 06/19/2013
The Bancroft Drawing Room

The Bancroft Drawing Room

As seen in the current issue in Fine Living Lancaster. Jonathan Colon is a fantastic local artist.

Fine Living Lancaster Issue 26

Posted in Farm Life, Fine Living Lancaster, Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 06/08/2013
Sweet Annie Produce | FLL 26

Sweet Annie Produce | FLL 26

This photo of Ben DeGaetano of Sweet Annie Produce is the most recent cover of Fine Living Lancaster. I’ve been shooting for them since the spring of 2009 and they’ve let me run with some of my own ideas recently and I’m wildly grateful for their trust in me to do so.