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The Victory Theatre: An After the Final Curtain Photography Workshop

Posted: 08th August 2010

I'm excited to announce that I will be partnering to instruct photography workshops at two amazing locations with Matt Lambros, creator of one of my favorite websites, After the Final Curtain. A graduate of Boston University's Digital Imaging and Photojournalism programs, Lambros' work has been featured in galleries around the world and a diverse array of media outlets including The New York Times and Gawker. While he has been photographing abandoned buildings since 2003, the After the Final Curtain project began in 2009 as a part of an effort to raise awareness for the plight of endangered theaters and to aid in the efforts to restore and reopen them. His book, "Kings Theatre: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Brooklyn’s Wonder Theatre" will be available in early 2015.

Location: Victory Theatre, Holyoke MA
Dates/Times Available:
No future dates are available for this location

The Site: The Victory Theatre opened on December 31, 1920 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The 1,680 seat theater was built by Mowll & Rand, an architecture firm based out of Boston. The Victory’s name is a reference to the Allied forces victory during World War I. Upon opening the Victory was run as a combination house, showing both films and vaudeville. With vaudeville’s decline in the early 1930s the theater discontinued the vaudeville performances in favor of the more popular motion picture screenings. The theater closed permanently on December 15, 1978 due to declining ticket sales. The city took ownership of the theater soon after due to non-payment of taxes. In September 2008, the city of Holyoke transferred ownership of the theater to the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, who plan to renovate the theater and reopen it as a performing arts center. Half of the workshop proceeds will go to the restoration effort. [Site description by Matt Lambros] This location and its history are also featured in a chapter in my book, Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream.

The Workshop: During the workshop Matt Lambros and I will be on hand to help you get better shots - these environments can be pretty tough to navigate photographically and I encourage you to come with questions. The auditorium and lobby are well lit, but if you'd like to shoot in the projection room or backstage you will need to bring your own light. I know some of you are just taking the tour to see the location, and if that's the case we'll stay out of your way and let you do your thing, but we will be on hand to offer individualized instruction for the duration of the event. Learning to use a tripod, what file format to shoot in, how to compose shots better, what ISO, F-Stop, and shutter speed affect, and how to do things like exposure bracketing are very important to your results. Don't feel afraid to ask us even questions that may seem silly to you. We want you to leave with pictures you're proud of.

Safety: You need to be very aware of your safety. I encourage you to always pay attention to your surroundings. A site manager will be on hand and following their directions is critical. If you do not you may be asked to leave the site. You will be asked to sign a waiver before you enter acknowledging that you are entering a potentially unsafe environment and that you will not hold either the owners or myself liable for any harm that may befall you or your equipment. Obviously the first priority on the trip, even before taking great pictures, is making sure that you are safe - but you will need to be the one looking out for that. Please note this environment has mold and dust that may be problematic for people with allergies or respiratory conditions and factor that into your decision whether or not to attend. Respirators are highly recommended.

What to bring:
- respirator/dust mask (recommended)
- for darker areas, flashlights and/or an external flash (a flash cable wouldn't hurt too)
- a bottle of water
- sturdy boots that protect your feet
- your tripod
- a fully charged cell phone
- your camera manual if you're unsure how to change settings. I can help you find the information you need in the manual but most cameras have their own ways of accessing features and changing settings and that makes things a lot easier.
- It's not necessary but a remote shutter switch is a nice thing to have and you can get a cheap one on Amazon for about $6 depending on your camera.

By signing up you agree to the following terms: Please make sure you check the email associated with your Paypal account for confirmation/updates! Your Paypal receipt is your confirmation, an email will follow with further details no less than a week prior to the event. You will need to sign a waiver to participate in this event, a sample of which can be found here. By signing up for this workshop you agree not to use information attained before or during the workshop to illegally trespass or set up alternate workshops/events.

REFUND POLICY: If you are unable to attend an event and notify me at admin@abandonedamerica.org more than 30 days prior to the event, you will be issued a full refund minus a $40 processing fee. Because of the extremely limited tour spots, if it is within 30 days of the event there are NO REFUNDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES except in case of workshop cancellation by Abandoned America. You may give or sell a paid spot in the workshop to someone else if you are unable to attend but admission may not be transferred to another event. There is always a possibility that the workshop may need to be moved to a different date based on severe inclement weather, safety concerns, or site manager's limitations. If this is the case notification will be given immediately and a refund will be offered if attendee is unable to make the alternate date. We cannot be held liable for travel, rental, or other costs incurred by attendee in the event of workshop cancellation. We do make every effort to ensure all events run on schedule. All sales are final.

If you have questions or are thinking about signing up, please read the Workshop FAQ Page! Send me a note at admin@abandonedamerica.org if you need to know anything else. If the PayPal link is immediately below this there are still open spots.

If you are interested in purchasing an Abandoned America print, please follow this link!


Photo comment By Les Morrow: The work you do is so important. The jewels of our past were and still are places to cherish. Today's Cinemas are dreadful eyesores.
Photo comment By Lynn Pelland: Is the Victory Theatre Workshop limited to a certain number of attendees?
Photo comment By Dianne Interlande: Hoping for more workshops here, the two available are already sold out.
Photo comment By Nancy: I can't make the dates you've listed, but I am heartened to see that you'll be doing it again. Will you post new dates through Facebook, or could you put me on a mailing list to be notified? Philly is really too far away for me, Holyoke is in my back yard. Thanks!

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