Thursday, December 4, 2014

Photographing Wildwood

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: We checked the weather forecast carefully before embarking: Monday, cloudy chance of rain; Tuesday, rain likely; Wednesday, partly cloudy chance of rain. Temperatures, 40s to 50s. The trip was on. A perfect December stretch to photograph old boardwalks on the Jersey Shore! Would anything be left after the repeated wooing and betrayal of generations of tourists and the savaging of storms? Our mission was to capture what came our way.

We came from opposite directions and met in Wildwood where land struggles to stay above water. Wildwood is a grid; street after identical street of bland white houses, empty motels and fenced off parking lots. It is a ghost town in December, but The Candlelight Inn was an oasis of Victorian fine frumpery, and we, it’s only guests, were welcomed warmly. Even without steady guests, everything was dusted immaculately, glassware glistened, paneling darkly glowed. 

I meant to photograph the dining room. But for electrification of beautiful glass fixtures it was as it might have been in 1890. We managed to make time for an excellent breakfast in that room. The owners told us they had bought the house intact, and my understanding was that it had been that way through several long tenures. We might well have spent time photographing inside the B&B, but we didn’t.