The Disappearing Cinema

Partial remains of the Globe Cinema, demolished this year, 2011

It recently dawned on me that there may be only one functional cinema left in Georgetown, possibly only one left in Guyana.  While the television and computers, handheld media players and the internet have certainly impacted on how we watch our movies, the cinema has always had a big draw for people, however the cinemas in Guyana have steadily gone into disrepair and certainly some have disappeared.   While we can place a lot of blame of the modernisation of media viewing, the owners and promoters of our cinemas have to take some of the blame, even when I was much younger, and the cinemas were full of moviegoers, I remember the sordid states of the seats, the persevering smell of urine, and the sound of the rodents running around the aisles.

Starlite Cinema, Pouderoyn, West Bank Demerara. Closed and abandoned

They never did the little things that made you WANT to go to the cinema, why suffer through all that when you could wait a few months and see it in the comfort of your home?  It was the experience, it was the “event” of going to the cinema with family or friends to watch a new (or old) movie in the company of others there to enjoy the experience, the camaraderie, the joy of the big silver screen, unfortunately the experience was not always a good one.  And the cinemas are disappearing, one by one, by one…

The Astor Cinema, still functional as of this year, but attendance makes it hard for the proprietor to keep it up.

I was re-reading an article written by Godfrey Chin on the Rise and Fall of Guyana’s Cinemas, I believe this was part of his “Nostalgias”, and while I am not old enough to know of some of the cinemas or even the movies he mentions, it hits home.  He, of course, goes back to even before we gained our Independence, back to the days of British Guiana, and he brings us into the modern era, where instead of Cinemas modernising to keep up, they just kept going, stagnated in time, except for the titles of the movie releases 🙂

What prompted this blog-post was the sudden nostalgia I got (I am probably getting like Godfrey) when I was processing a photo I took of the partly demolished “Globe Cinema” and an image of the abandoned Starlite Cinema.  Both of those images are included in this post.  As the Astor is the last remaining cinema, I think that I should make an effort to get permission to do some photography in that establishment before it too disappears.

Formerly the Strand Cinema, now the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

There are at least two other Cinemas that I know of which have been converted into places of worship, it seems to be the thing to do  🙂

Click on each image to see them larger in their respective galleries.

Monochromes – 28th Week of 2010

I never thought that so many people would like my monochrome photographs, but it turns out that many family members and friends like them.  Over the last few years of taking photographs, I have come to realize that some photographs just render better in one monochromatic form or another than in colour.  Most of the time when I post a monochrome photograph it was intended that way from when I pressed the shutter button, but sometimes the coloured version just does not do the scene justice and rendering it in black and white or another form of monochrome like sepia, usually brings out more tonal differentiation and character from the image.

When I used the Canon PowerShot S5, there was a dedicated mode for these types of photographs, and I used it rather than converting after, mainly because, as I have mentioned, I take certain scenes with the full intention of them being black and white or sepia.  When I moved on to an SLR, the Canon Digital Rebel T1i does not have that feature, which is probably a good thing  🙂  Using RAW mode shooting I have found that I get a lot more processing ability, some people call this editing, but I look at it as getting more out of the photograph, the information is there, I’m not adding or removing, just revealing.

Of the four monochromes below, only two were intended as monochromes, the other two just rendered better that way  🙂  Click on them to see them at the site.

Although not a true sepia, I put this one in that category because, well, I had nowhere else to put it I suppose. I used one of those Lightroom presets and did some exposure and fill light adjustments.

Alexander Street, Bourda

This building I will have to revisit another day, there were just way too many vehicles around for a nice wider shot, but the building intrigued me enough that I think this worth posting up.

Camp and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, Guyana.

Some things attract your attention and trying to convey that in a photograph can be… difficult, at least for me.  This bird was “riding the waves”, standing on that branch and just bobbing and weaving with the rise and fall of the incoming waves.

Riding the Waves

And finally, this scene I had done in a previous post on Georgetown, Guyana.  It is a familiar scene to anyone who has driven along the Clive Lloyd Drive, its been there since I was a little boy, a quaint little cottage amidst some palm trees, while the previous photograph was in colour, this one was taken with the monochrome idea and the result was quite nice.

Clive Lloyd Drive, Georgetown, Guyana

Buildings – Queenstown, Bourda… and Clive Lloyd Drive

Have I been taking numerous photos of buildings recently? Yes I have, and it’s all Nikhil’s fault!  As usually happens, when we take a walk, it’s usually centred around a small area in Georgetown, and what else is there to photograph in Georgetown except buildings? Maybe some trash on the road-corner, but that’s not my style of photography (well, not yet anyway).

Georgetown has a very wide array of “architectural styles”, so you can often go around one city block and come back with a nice diverse set of photographs, while I may photograph the entire structure most times, it is usually a combination of the smaller features that really draw my attention.

Combinations of both wooden and concrete portions are somewhat common to see these days, usually because of “additions” to the original structure, but sometimes it is a deliberate architectural decision.

Even buildings constructed with one type of base material have very appealing little characteristics sometimes.  Something I don’t see too often these days is the use of shingles, especially on the walls of a building, quite interesting to see that, especially when you’ve grown up in either wooden houses (with tongue and groove wood walls) or in concrete boxes with louvre windows like I did.

This blog-post is going to be particularly shot on words, but heavy on the photographs.  I have six photographs of buildings that I wanted to include in this post, all taken in Georgetown, some from the wards of Bourda and Queenstown and one from the Kitty area, on Clive Lloyd Drive.

I am not sure how many residents of Georgetown (much less Guyanese) know where Clive Lloyd Drive is.  It’s that little stretch of road from Vlissengen Road to Sheriff Street running along the Seawall, I think that it becomes the Rupert Craig Highway at Sheriff Street.

Now that I have filled up the space between these two photographs with words, I can now go on to show you the other photographs  🙂  Two are of the “Open Bible Church”, whose “building” is for sale, so it’s not likely to be there for much longer.  One of my goals is to try to photograph some of the more interesting buildings around town before they disappear, and are forgotten.  I have an open list, so feel free to send suggestions, and no, the concrete box with the louvre windows is not that photogenic, seriously!

Open Bible Church, Oronoque and Lamaha Streets
Queenstown, Georgetown
Open Bible Church, Frontal view
The Cottage - Clive Lloyd Drive