david schrott is everywhere

Here are some film photos from the spring of 2016.

Posted in B&W Photography by thebreakfastdictator on 06/24/2017

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McDonald’s Sign, Gone

Posted in B&W Photography, Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 05/23/2016

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When I was first getting interested in photography, my Dad told me that there was this sign on Columbia Avenue at a McDonald’s. It was one of the old school arches. He said I should take a photo of it before it gets taken down (this was the late 90s). I never did until just a few days before it was taken down (around April 5th this year). I’m glad I did. I’ll miss this sign.

November Songs (1)

Posted in family by thebreakfastdictator on 11/10/2014

Ten years ago, things were so different here. The city was gritty. There were as many vacant buildings as occupied ones. On the first block of North Prince stood the old Futon Building, full of junk and old frames. We bought some birds and named one Burt Reynolds. He was our favorite; a small white dove bought at Pete’s in the Italian Market of Philadelphia for eight bucks. It seemed a common thing whenever I went to buy birds there. It must have been four or five times at least. Each time, Pete would grab the birds mercilessly and shove them in my dad’s 50 year old bird cage. He had fond memories of that cage. He had a little bird named Blue Boy that he would sing and whistle to in my great-grandparent’s house on top of Milford Street. Those are so remarkably some of his best memories. He talks about his grandparents more fondly than anyone else. Neither of them were alive by the time I was born. By all accounts they were these remarkable Catholic people and when I think of it, my heart is moved toward sadness for having never known them.

They built their house from sticks sometime in the 40’s. Johnstown was peaking then. Somewhere along the line, I took some black and white photos of the house. Someday I’ll get around to finding and scanning them. But probably not. It seems like that’s the way it goes. Good intentions are always just good intentions.

Von Steel

Von Steele

Years ago, on a cold Good Friday, we meandered out of Pittsburgh, 70 miles southeast, to the place where we came from. We got a family history lesson that I’ve long since forgotten but thankfully wrote down in my beat up, handmade journal. He built his house in fifty-nine and has lived there ever since. The old wood-stove still churns in the winter. The crucifixes and icons line the walls. I think the kitchen table was purchased in fifty-nine as well, and if not, not too damn far afterwards. The cabinets almost surely have never been replaced but why would they be? Cabinets are cabinets and if they hold things why do they need replaced?

There are these days where my dad looks and acts more and more like my grandfather and my nephew looks like a mini-my-dad and like he was cut and pasted right out of a photo of me from 1984. I guess I am my dad and Von is my dad and we all are my grandfather and his father and his father’s father and his grandfather’s father; reaching all the way back to Austria now, the details get hazy, like the descent out of the West Virginia mountains on an early autumnal day.

Have you ever been to West Virginia? The stereotypes are true. All of them. And it doesn’t take more than a half mile off the interstate to realize it. People do live in campers. There are dirt roads that lead to nowhere and not everyone is all that friendly. It is a wonderful place to be though; the Second Coming of the American Shire. The sharp green slopes eternally cascade into the horizon line, covered with peak autumn leaves. Find a road, make a right, another right, then a left and you won’t see anyone for hours, maybe days. The beauty and stillness will suck you in. Has anyone even stepped foot here before? It’s hard to believe. It must have been this way for the frontiersmen and their families too. We are the new frontiersman, longing for a simple life and natural beauty.

Nowhere, or Somewhere, West Virginia.

Nowhere, or Somewhere, West Virginia.

Now, we are home and just a few weeks later we find out that my wife is pregnant. If it is a boy, what will he father like? And what will I father like? He will be cut from me and me from my dad and him from Francis and him from Karl and Karl from his father and, are we in Austria yet? I don’t quite think so; I know it’s beautiful there but is it as beautiful as West Virginia? I bet it is and they likely don’t have sprawl. Even the prettiest places have their ugly corners. There’s bound to be a place they call Backwards, but maybe backwards is forwards and progress is a myth.

In high school, I learnt that our last name meant scrapped metal in German. How long does that name go back and what was our grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather doing? Was he a blacksmith? A junkman? A weapons-maker? A trash-man? There were no automobiles back then, he couldn’t have been the Austrian Henry Ford, but maybe he was. Maybe he was a genius in another way. Or maybe he was a working stiff like the rest of us. Blue collar to blue collar deep into the soul.

The sun is peaking up now and the what’s-left-of-it coffee is getting chilled. There’s a fifty-five mile ride ahead and another blue collar day lurking beneath that low-setting November sun. To-day’s beauty will be roiled by Thursday’s winter preview, but that Austrian husk beneath our flannel will prod us on. So we can father the fathers.

I took these photos for this magazine once…

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

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Fiddle Creek Dairy Farm

Posted in B&W Photography, Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 06/18/2014
Tim & Frances

Tim & Frances

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Tim Sauder

Lancaster Barnstormers

Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 05/16/2014

Baseball in the Red Rose City

Posted in Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 05/08/2014

Blake Gailen | Lancaster Barnstormers

I love baseball in all forms.

Light leaks, dust, and Je’m.

Posted in family, Lancaster by thebreakfastdictator on 04/03/2014

 

Je'm + Lucky

Je’m + Lucky

In my advanced photo class we learned how to let go a little bit; to be okay with light-leaks, film scratches, soft focus, bleached prints. I had a really hard time with some of that. I enjoyed messing up the print since the prints were easily reproducible. But I detested the idea of ruining the negative and sometimes I’d shoot an entire roll (12 images) of pretty much the exact same thing. Just in case. I barely do that anymore, but I still dust things obsessively and fear shooting all of my expired film because “what if I get a really good shot and ________?!”

I guess the world would end if that happened, wouldn’t it?

The film came back from the lab today and this photo was my favorite. It has a giant light leak across it (no idea how that happened). And when you shoot film, you can’t undo the light-leak like Afterlight or Snapseed tells you that you can.

And that’s okay.

Lighten up, David.

Old Man Winter (A Farewell; I hope).

Posted in B&W Photography, Lancaster, Personal Work by thebreakfastdictator on 03/29/2014
Snowy Saturday (January 2014)

Snowy Saturday (January 2014).

Long before this dreadful almost-over-winter set in, there was some semblance of peace brought about by the grey skies and whispy white snow. The days were bitter but beautiful. Snow enveloped the land in its soft cottony cushion and for just a moment, the busy city ground down, silence was at hand and we smiled beneath thew warmth of the heavy winter blankets wrapped around our frozen feet. The equinox has come and gone, the old man hasn’t lain in his grave yet. There was snow just three days ago and temperatures well below what is comfortable for the lamb part of March. It is different to-day, though, warm rain mists the cozy countryside. The coffee gets colder slower and baseball season is just two days away. Rest well, old man, and stay in your grave a little longer this year. We could all use a break from your howling winds and violent vortexes.

Blue Balloons

Posted in Personal Work by thebreakfastdictator on 02/25/2014
miss e.j.

betty

miss e.j.

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For some people, digital photography works quite well. For others, like myself, film works better. I’ll stick with that until there is no more film left to shoot. The above was shot just under a year ago, both with normal length, prime lenses; one on a Hasselblad, the other on a Nikon d300. The difference in quality is astounding.