Intro from Jay Allison: In the coming weeks, we're pairing some new radio/visual pieces with Ben Shapiro's Guide to Multimedia production on Transom. The first comes from Transoms own Samantha Broun, working with photographer Neal Menschel. It's a quiet, loving portrait of the last working day at a perfectly old-timey general store in Massachusetts. It's a bit uncanny, because after its done, you feel like you were there. The way the sound plays around the images feels almost like memory. Come see and hear for yourself. It's called "Final Sale".
View Final Sale – 6:30
View Final Sale (small) – 6:30
About Final Sale
When Winthrop “Winnie” Sherwin announced that he was retiring and closing his store, I knew I wanted to document it. I had lived in West Groton, home of Sherwin Brothers Clover Farm Store, for about twenty years. My children, now grown, had gone to a four-room schoolhouse up the road from the store. After school, they would walk to Sherwin’s and buy penny candy from Winnie or from his sister, Helen, who also worked there. It seems a little Norman Rockwell, and it was. Besides the candy, my kids absorbed the sense of community that centered in Winnie’s store.
I started hanging around Sherwin’s and taking pictures in October, 2006. Whether it was about world politics or local burial plots, the conversation and constant banter between Winnie and his customers was always lively and I realized that adding an audio component to the project would give it a whole other dimension. That’s when I contacted Sam.
We're so glad she taped Winnie. You too?
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Over the next two months, Sam and I spent time interviewing, photographing, and hanging out at Sherwin’s. In December, we recorded the final minutes of Winnie’s last day in the store. In the end, one of the most challenging parts of the process was assembling the photos and sound so that they enhanced rather than competed with each other. In our first draft of the piece, photos and sound seemed to drain each other of their messages. We’ve done several drafts since then and we think we finally got it right.
We’re grateful to Winnie, Helen and the people of West Groton who so gracefully accepted us — along with my camera and Sam’s microphone — into the midst of their daily routine.
This is our first multimedia work for the web. Consider us hooked.
Neal began taking snapshots with a digital point and shoot for the first week until Winnie and his customers got used to him taking photos. Once he felt he had become more of a fixture, he started using digital SLRs. The photos were edited and minor adjustments were made using Aperture.
Sam used a Sharp MT877 mini disc recorder with a Beyer 58 microphone. She edited in ProTools.
The multimedia was created using the original version of Soundslides.
Additional support for this work provided by
with funding from the