Seeing Signs of Tough Times in Clinton, MA

April 03, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

For lease signs, broken windows, and empty storefronts are visible signs on many New England main streets - evidence of difficult economic conditions.  There is hope of revival, however.


I hadn't been to Clinton, Massachusetts since 2009. Clinton is a town of roughly 15,000 people that originated as a mill town in the mid 1800's.


One of my favorite images of main streets is a photo that I took in Clinton in 2009.  The image highlights the historic Strand Theatre, which is a wonderful movie theatre that remains open today.  It represents a cultural and historical heritage that is disappearing in many small towns.


Copyright 2009 Cindy A Stephens

On my return to Clinton I discovered that the image I took almost three years ago couldn't be replicated today.  Thriving stores, including the vintage one opposite the Strand Theatre, now stand empty.


I was struck by Clinton's decline during the past three years.  That is one reason why I chose to use a broken, taped window to frame main street in the background during this visit.  For me, these broken windows reflect the difficult economic conditions that have befallen many local communities.  I did, however, find a sign of re-birth amidst the broken windows and empty storefronts.

Copyright 2012 Cindy A Stephens

When I am out photographing I am often approached by strangers who are curious about what I am doing.  This outing proved to be no exception.  A passerby, Thomas, came over to ask me what my project was about.


Thomas has plans to revive the local storefronts with displays of vintage cameras and industrial equipment as well as create a studio for local artists.  His love for the town and desire to revive it was contagious.


I'm a natural optimist.  Main Street conquers images where small businesses dominate the landscape, communities gather to socialize and traditions are passed down from one generation to the next.  With Thomas at the helm championing new projects I am confident that Clinton's main streets will once again thrive.






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I am a marketing professional and a fine art photographer.  With more than 20 years of experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, I now educate creative professionals how to create their artistic presence in the changing art world.  


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