Dodge & Burn: John B. Gordon School in East Atlanta

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Dodge & Burn is a series of photo essays documenting local culture with a focus on artful imagery, movement, and light.

The John B. Gordon School, located in East Atlanta, sits on Metropolitan Avenue between Flat Shoals and Moreland. Although there are many unused and abandoned buildings within East Atlanta, I was surprised to find such a large one so close to the heart of the Village. The school opened in 1906 and closed in 1995 by the Atlanta Public School board. Usually, old, unused schools are left with minimal traces of their past occupants, but a few years ago a facebook group was started to reconnect the students of John B. Gordon School. One student mentions an A&W Root Beer drive-in, which operated in the 1950’s, just on the corner of Metropolitan and Flat Shoals; others bring up memories of the soda fountain at the East Atlanta Pharmacy during the 1960’s, Charlie’s Hamburgers, and 50-cent movies at the East Atlanta Theatre. The true treasures are the dozen school pictures from the 50s and 60s. The school has since been purchased by Inman Park Properties, but there is still no word on how the site will be developed.

For this Dodge & Burn, I shot with a Canon 7D and a 28-135mm lens. The weather was slightly overcast, which made for great, even, soft lighting. I chose to focus on centralizing points of focus, symmetry, and repetitive line structures. During post-processing I enhanced many of the images’ contrast to bring out the white lines in the brick as well as the details in the glass, boarded up windows, and vines.
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