John Brock Art Alcove
September and October 2023
September and October’s featured artist in the John Brock Art Alcove is Craig Callan, a photographer from Tarpon Springs. Craig graduated from Farmingdale State University with a degree in Photo Technology in 1973.
From 1973 to ’78 he was a Photographic Quality Control Supervisor for Berkey Photo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Among other responsibilities he managed technical aspects of Kodachrome processing for slides and movie film. At the same time he continued in the creative side of photography, both as a wedding photographer and as a photojournalist.
In 1978 he started working for Colenta American Corporation, a manufacturer of photo processing equipment. The company built custom designed photo processors for clients such as National Geographic, Time/Life, Eastman Kodak, NASA, and the White House Photo Lab, as well as more popular mini-labs. He specialized in solving complex photographic problems and in training operators to produce high quality images.
As part of Colenta’s extensive export market he installed labs and trained operators in the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Jordan. He also designed factories and trained staff to assemble Colenta processors in Mexico and China. He produced professional quality landscapes and street photography to demonstrate Colenta products.
As part of Colenta’s growing cooperation with China, Craig was promoted to Communications Director in 1985. In order to surmount language difficulties, he used the desktop publishing software introduced for the Mac to generate graphically centered manuals. As part of this he used Digital Darkroom, the first retouching software available for Mac. When Photoshop 1.0 was introduced in 1990, Craig was an eager early adopter.
When Craig moved to Washington D.C. in 1991, he parlayed his desktop publishing and photography experience into working as a Mac Retoucher for Lanman Progressive, a high-end “trade shop” which specialized in preparing color pages for major magazines and books. Once again, Nat Geo was one of his clients, and they supplied one of the most memorable instructions ever: “Sharpen lion’s teeth.” During this time he was an instructor in Introductory and Advanced Photoshop at the Graphic Arts Institute of Greater Washington.
In November 1997, Craig was the Prepress Manager for a division of the Washington Post that printed 40 community newspapers, when he was asked to assume the role of Director of Technology and oversee the company’s Y2K response. He remained in that position for the next five years, before taking a buyout and working as the Network Manager for a software company until retiring in 2019.
He maintains his interest in photography and Photoshop. He says, “Teaching photographers about Photoshop is like teaching five year-olds about ice cream. It’s messy at first but they soon get the hang of it.”
About “Ghost Factories”
As our country has moved gradually from a mainly production- to a mostly idea-based economy, reminders of the recent past remain in mute tribute to a way of work and of life that is vanishing. Now vacant, these factories were once the vibrant hearts of thriving communities.
Carrie Furnace Generator Hall
Carrie Furnaces: Built around 1884, closed in 1978. Located on the Monongahela River in Swissdale, PA. An iron-smelting plant, it was later purchased by Andrew Carnegie in 1898 and used as a source of molten iron to be used in the US Steel Corporation Steel Works across the river in Pittsburgh. Carloads of molten iron were shipped across to the steel plant on the Hot Metal Bridge. At its peak it had seven blast furnaces producing 1,200 tons of iron a day.
“Millie” Baldwin Mikado Narrow Gauge Locomotive, Built 1911
East Broad Top Railroad Shops: Rockhill, PA. Opened in 1972, this was a narrow gauge railroad used to haul coal from the mountains around Orbisonia, PA to the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line. It was later opened to passenger service, and passenger car shops were added to the operation. The extensive Railroad Yard was later laid with a dual track system, so the Pennsylvania Rail Road’s normal gauge equipment could be serviced. As the coal in the area was depleted, freight and passenger service dried up. After the operations ceased in 1956, the railroad operated as a scenic tourist railroad from 1960 to 2011, then was shut down completely. In addition to large machine shops, the railroad is home to a locomotive shop housing a roundhouse and six Baldwin narrow gauge locomotives. In 2020 the railroad and shops were purchased by a consortium of railroad executives, and the first tourist excursions were run in May 2022.
Spinning Jenny: Waterside Woolen Mill
Waterside Woolen Mill: Waterside, PA. Opened in 1860, this water-powered factory spun local wool to weave army blankets for the Civil War. Long after the war, the mill continued to produce wool blankets and rugs until the 1960s. Later it was developed as a heritage site, and short runs of blankets were sporadically produced to keep the gift shop supplied. The mill race still flows through the expensive property.
Lonacoming Silk Mill: Lonacoming, MD. Built in 1905 by local businessmen, it was used in spinning silk thread to be woven elsewhere in the area. After World War II, the heavy, luxurious silk, once used for wedding dresses and upholstery, declined in favor as lighter artificial fabrics came to market. The end came in the Fall of 1957, when worker struck for better wages. As they had warned, management shut the plant down. The fact that the workers were expecting to return makes this place more haunted than others, worn out shoes and purses used on the factory floor lay strewn about along with paperback books read during lunch, and eating utensils await the return of owners never coming back.
To see more of Craig’s works, please visit his website at CraigCallan.com or reach out to him at email@example.com or 301-787-9316.
If you would like to apply to have your art featured in the John Brock Art Alcove, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.