Small town America: Port Orford, OR by Nigel Rumsey


I have a great fondness for small town America. That eclectic mix of industry, commerce and residence rarely fails to entrance me. One of my longest-held ambitions is to take a few months out and complete a long-term documentary photography project in a small American town. I rather ambitiously see it as a scaled-down version of W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh project, with maybe slightly fewer than his 17,000 images. We spent our holiday in Oregon last year and in a small echo of that ambition while there I tried to document the buildings along US Route 101 in the town of Port Orford.

documentary photography shot of unmarked building, Port Orford, OR

For those who are in a hurry to get somewhere, and who are not flying, US Route 101 has been superseded by Interstate 5, but at one time it was the route along America's West coast. For 1,550 miles it runs near the mighty Pacific ocean.

..... a scaled-down version of W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh project .... slightly fewer than his 17,000 images

Even despite its inter-state scope when it runs through hundreds of small towns it becomes Main Street, the strip onto which stores open their doors. Onto its sidewalks churches open and schools empty, thousands of small General Stores, fast food restaurants and industry trades along its length. When you pull out of Coos Curry Supply in Port Orford it's easy to forget you're on ribbon of blacktop stretching from Port Angeles at the very top of Washington state, a wet two miles from the Canadian border, to Los Angeles in sunny Southern California.

documentary photography shot of Coos Curry Supply a hardware store in Port Orford, OR

On this trip I ran out of time in Port Orford, route 101 was pulling me ever northward, but I'm sure I'll be back to both to Port Orford and hopefully for even longer to some, as yet, unknown small town at which I can point my lens.

documentary photography shot of Chevron gas station, Port Orford, OR

documentary photography shot of gas filling rig, Port Orford, OR

The World through my Holga : New York by Nigel Rumsey


I thought it was time for a little bit of colour around here. I've been sorting through some recent shots prior to an overhaul of the web site. In the process, I've come across a few Holga shots that I haven't posted before. No matter how digital I get I still love the look of the world through the simple lens of my Holga. The first three were shot in Manhattan and the last one was a farm we passed while we were lost somewhere in the Catskills in upstate New York. I remember this very fondly as one of my favourite parts of the trip.

You can see the full Holga gallery here.

The store front of Russo's café, Manhattan

Store front of a Beauty Bar in Manhattan, New York

A tumbled down red barn in New York state

Porthmeor by Nigel Rumsey

Porthmeor beach, St. Ives About this time each year the relentless rain and grey of the British winter starts getting to me. My mind yearns for a little sunlight and the warmth on my back. I'm afraid there's still a while to go before even the most optimistic of us can expect those warm spring days that herald such promise. Until then I'm cheering myself with shots of last summer.

If you don't know St Ives, Porthmeor beach is the wildest of the four beaches that surround the little Cornish town. Porthmeor faces West and so gets the best of the surf, although they're hardly of Hawaiian proportions.

Here's to this summer, Porthmeor beach and long summer days!

aintsallsaintsallsain by Nigel Rumsey

Allsaints, Spitalfields, London Allsaints, Spitalfields, London

My beloved Holga finally gave up the ghost. The aperture arm kept dropping ruining every other shot. I had an old 120N that I hadn't used for years, so a quick lens swap, my 120GFN and 120N become my new 120GN.

if all that means nothing to you: 1. get with the programme, a Holga is probably the most fun you can have behind the lens and if you're a student a great tool to learn with. 2. the upshot is it's fixed!