The Columbus

 
 

What does it mean to take pictures of songbirds?

I first began photographing at the Columbus by accident.  It was the day after Halloween. I had dressed the night before as Weegee, one of the great street/crime photographers of the 20th century. I had gone downtown photographing superheroes cat-women and scantily clad nurses… Carrying my Graflex camera typical of 40’s press photography it was easy to get people to pose for me, re-creating crime scenes, but with the whimsy of a child’s play.   It was so successful in my eyes I went out the next night to try and catch a little bit of the Halloween vibe left over onto the Saturday. A friend had told me that they were stopping by the Columbus theater; a theater I had known through out my time in providence as “Opening Soon”.  When I ended up there that first time it seemed the underdog finally got its chance.

The Columbus has this vibe of rambunctious excitement. Like looking at shiny plastic fruit lit by neon.  The people there were beautiful and this thing I found my self chasing the night before seemed so abundant.    There was this almost raw honest beauty to the place. Beautiful children. Its walls echoed years of history, muffled by base and chorus, falling on ears of red velvet.  It had been a porn theater once, and I always loved that the one remaining part this of this transformation was this; the seats downstairs were red velvet, and the seats upstairs were red vinyl.   The backstage felt like being an orphan sitting in on someone else’s thanksgiving.  It very much so was a family. Trying to hide my excitement of seeing something or someone I found beautiful.  I was very lucky. I look at the photographs and want to hear the rumble of noise, the smell of cigarettes. 

Silent Songs.