“Rust and Oysters….”

20130403_0418nikwebWednesday my friend Milinda and I took a photo exploration trip towards the coast, in the general direction of Apalachicola. We both had been that way many times before, but never for the purpose of just wandering around and photographing.The weather promised to be absolutely miserable, however we decided to shove off, nevertheless. We knew that we would have to make several obligatory ‘tourist photo opportunity’ stops. The first one would be the semicircle of rusty old cars in Crawfordville. According to ‘Roadside America‘ the cars “…placed here by Pat Harvey, have all been used on the Harvey family farm. Some were used by his grandfather and some by his father. All were left in the woods to rust when their time had passed. Mr. Harvey is completely amazed by the number of travelers who stop and take photos of this unique artistic find.” I did not find out about the history of the cars till I looked it up on the internet. While I am really not that interested in old cars, I felt I could not pass without making some photographs. The cars all have a fantastic rusty patina, and the area is kept clear of vines and heavy vegetation, so it is just a matter of pulling off the road and wandering around among the cars. Most of them were old Fords, but in the back row I came across this Nash, a stately old wreck of a car. I don’t ever remember seeing big Nash cars like that before. When I was in high-school one of my fellow students had a turquoise and white Nash convertible that we all admired, and I remember a family friend referring to their little Nash as the Nash Can.


The other car that caught my attention was this big four door sedan with the forward opening back doors. I remember riding in a similar car and opening the back door while we were driving down the highway. Although that was one of my more stupid mistakes, I had a firm grip on the door and was able to pull it shut, despite the air rushing past it at 55 mph


And then came the totally obligatory ‘photo opportunity’ stop in Carrabelle to take a snapshot of the ‘World’s Smallest Police Station.’20130403_0428nikweb That thing has been there in one form or another for decades. What was neat about this stop was that we found a wonderful coffee shop as we were looking for a place to park. Although we had packed sandwiches for lunch, both of us were ready for some coffee. Much to our surprise, the place was packed with what appeared to be locals. We ordered an ice-coffee and a decaf and I was totally shocked when the bill came to only $2.00, not only that – the coffee was good. Those of you who read “Digging for Feasts Across the Florida Panhandle” in last Sunday’s NYT, and go cruising in search for the places mentioned in the article, might want to stretch your trip east and stop by in Carrabelle for a cup of coffee and lunch or desert.20130403_0436nikweb20130403_0437nikweb

The weather was still ‘holding’ and had not turned nearly as nasty as had been forecast, so we went on to East Point, which consists mostly of oyster shacks and boat ramps along the highway. It reminded us of Cedar Key in many ways, but the boats were different. For one thing they had little ‘cabins’ over the aft section that looked like they were barely big enough to give a little shelter to whoever was ‘driving’ the boat. I am not familiar with the history of these boats, and it seems odd that boats with which to go out oystering, would have these little shelters, since in order to go tonging for oysters, one has to stand up. Also the boats still seemed to be built mostly out wood and are not as big as many of the bird-dog boats in Cedar Key. Like Cedar Key, East Point looks like a place that has endured, a place where people are not getting rich, but are ‘getting by.’



About christian harkness

Photographer and printmaker; living and working in north Florida.
This entry was posted in art, black & white, cedar key, clam farming, digital, documentary, Florida, photography, Southern Photography, waterwomen and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Rust and Oysters….”

  1. Love this set of pictures. For some reason I thought I was reading someone else’s blog. When I came to the words “Cedar Keys” I thought to myself ” I must recommend that this person has a look at Christian Harkness’ blog”. It’s still early in the morning, Christian, I’ll wake up later.

  2. bbylois says:

    Hey christian , Milinda . I never thought one is able to present rust like you did in B&W. The first one , I really like to observe and to look for all kind of details. It bears a story of its own and the way you presented it is great. The way the car is hanging over with its broken window and missing lighters. its huge bonnet made it for me. I do wonder , if you or Milinda placed the door open? :) or was is open already . This apparently meaningless detail is very dominant present and made it special for me to observe.

    I feel the atmosphere in all of your photographs . Carrabelles’ place , you were truly connected with that place. The lady in the back interacts great in this photograph. My favorite is the seafood shelter image. The bump of stones or oysters ? guided me to the left , where the person interacts so nice , so subtle and so powerful.

    The seafood sigh and the bird , so nice done as being in harmony with the skyline. This is yours , Christian and I liked it to observe it again and again. You can do something with that image , I believe. Ciao , Bart

  3. Hey Bart – thanks a million for your feed-back. Glad that you ‘noticed’ the rust! No we did not touch any of the cars, but photographed them exactly as we found them!
    Those are oyster shells in the photo of the oyster shack. I do wish I had gone and talked to the women shucking oysters in the back, and gotten some photos there! Hopefully, next time.

    • bbylois says:

      great I am a bit jealous :) , A true challenge to compete with that super photograph. I had a thought about the oysters. if this photograph was standing alone and title was oyster, no misinterpretation was made. I was tending to say , the black and white made this misinterpretation . But you learned me that this is not true. But you know me , i like the story behind and I am enjoying all the details of it over and over. I keep this photograph close to me . It inspires me . Looking forward to taste more ‘the oysters’. Good hunting :)

      • I am delighted that it ‘speaks’ to you. I actually did not think it a very successful photo.. Of course, the seagull coming in for a landing is great. I would have liked to see more of the women shucking oysters.

  4. MilindaC says:

    I showed Wayland a picture of the boats and he said the little shelter on there is to protect the oystermen from the cold. I feel that makes sense since it’s a bit further north than CK.

    • That’s interesting – I had actually thought the opposite – the heat. I would think they go into that cabin as a break while tonging for oysters, because I don’t think they go out that far to actually get to the oyster-beds. But perhaps they do! Thanks!

  5. Humbled Pie says:

    These are all really nice photos…thanks for sharing!

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