Their Spirits Foundered

The town of Malden, Washington was founded in 1909 (four years after the camera that took this photo was made). A decade later, it contained over 1,000 people. This was mostly due to the railroad, the Milwaukee Road, which established the town as a divisional headquarters. They even put up a roundhouse and “the largest turntable in the world”.

But by the end of the 1920s, the railroad abandoned the town and the population plummeted to under 400. These days, it has all the appearances of a wild west town and is home to around 200 – a number it’s maintained for nearly fifty years.

On the weekend we were there, they had just opened the first business in town in over 25 years.

I chose to use this camera because I thought it was fitting to shoot an century-old church with a century-old camera. I chose Ilford’s FP4+ because this was the last sheet that I had left. I wanted to get a color shot of it, but those were long gone.


‘Their Spirits Foundered’

Camera: Seneca Chautauqua (c1905)
Film: Ilford FP4+ (x-09/04); 100iso
Process: Rodinal 1+50; 12min

Malden, Whitman County, Washington


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