Discovering Typewriters in Downtown Portsmouth New Hampshire

January 31, 2013  •  1 Comment

Main streets and back roads of Portsmouth, New Hampshire


When was the last time you saw a Smith Corona typewriter?  This is just a wild guess but I’d say “not very recently" (unless you’ve visited Hoyt’s Office Products on Market Street in downtown Portsmouth).


One of my favorite things about photographing on main streets and back roads is discovering unexpected memorabilia from our past in a storefront window, such as typewriters. 


It hit me tonight as I was watching a program on the making of Antiques Roadshow® that these memorabilia help tell the stories of Main Street and are its living visual history. 


Like the thousands who apply for the chance to appear on the Antiques Roadshow with an item that has a personal significance and past, main streets have their own stories to tell.  I enjoy finding those unexpected stories that involve items from a prior era.


Portsmouth New Hampshire

Copyright 2013 Cindy A Stephens


Living Visual History

Downtown Portsmouth is a vibrant center humming with numerous restaurants and breweries, which proved welcome respites from the bitter cold 15-mile per hour gusts I encountered when I visited in January.


In 2008 Portsmouth was named as a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The elegant seaport of Portsmouth, the nation’s third oldest city, is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country with its mix of historic buildings, sidewalk cafes, great restaurants, art galleries, jazz clubs and distinctive artisans’ boutiques.”, they said.


The Storyteller

With such rich cultural and historic material, a question that I've asked myself is how do I choose what stories to tell from Main Street?  I posted a discussion in a LinkedIn® group for fine art professionals recently, which was a blog post by JM Colberg about why we photograph.  What compels us to do it?  I was respectfully asked by to answer my own question (a fair request).


Downtown Portsmouth New Hampshire

Copyright 2013 Cindy A Stephens


My answer was this:  I use photography for storytelling and to communicate.  Do I photograph to document and record what I see in the world around me, and tell those stories?  Or, do I photograph to tell my stories, and reflect my personal values and what I find important? For me, the answer is the latter.


So, the images I took in Portsmouth were for me the most photographically compelling and also those that were personally interesting – like finding typewriters on such a vibrant and busy main street.  I want my images to bring to life the activities, interests and traditions we all value in small towns across America.


Until the next journey to main streets and back roads… - Cindy


All company names or marks mentioned herein are those of their respective owners.


Don McLagan(non-registered)
If photos conjure stories, then poems my be like their negatives - words that conjure images. Lisel Mueller has a wonder set of "Highway Poems" of which these photos remind me.
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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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