Founded in 1953 by brothers Bob and Don Crowe. The Crowe Foundry made iron castings for water pumps, engines and the agricultural sector. Unable to secure new financing in 2009, the factory closed putting 145 people out of work.
I shot the foundry shortly after it closed with my TLR. We weren’t on site for long, so i only shot a couple rolls of film, one colour and one black and white. Because i develop my own black and white film and take my colour to the lab, my colour films are always processed first. This particular roll however eluded development for 2 + years as it was mislaid in a light safe bag and shelved! I shoot more than i process, and prefer shooting to the darkroom (who doesn’t?), and when this film didn’t turn up, i thought maybe i had developed it and misplaced the negs (this has sadly happened), but i continued to look for it all the same. It wasn’t until i moved that this roll and others were discovered and processed!
The locker room and more specifically how the lockers are “decorated” and what is left behind inside can say so much about the people who once worked in the abandoned spaces I photograph. As much as what is there might tell a story, so can what isn’t. Unlike Bunge where the lockers were filled with pornography (raunchy birth canal porn) a trend in food industry locker rooms I’ve found, Crowe’s locker contents were akin to the what you might find in the back of a desk drawer, items that are useful if you ran out of the one you were using, something to smell good, refresh your breath, polish your appearance with etc. and of course, work shirts/shoes and other soot covered items that wouldn’t be needed anymore. But most were just empty. In fact the locker rooms were as immaculate as the foundry, (as immaculate as it could be), everything had been arranged, cleaned, stacked and put-away. People with pride? Or auto-bots who did what they did everyday on the last day at work?