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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.
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.
About Neal Menschel
Neal Menschel has been a photojournalist for the past thirty years. He is presently the director of the photography track at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, ME. Prior to Salt, Neal was the Director of Photography and Senior Photographer at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston, MA. As a freelancer his clients included The New York Times, WGBH-Boston, MIT, Tufts, WBZ, Front Line, Newsweek, People, Geo, and others. Besides fervently exploring multimedia, Neal still freelances. He is working on a book about families of West Virginia with his writer/radio producer daughter, Molly.
Samantha Broun and Neal Menschel
About Samantha Broun
Samantha Broun earned degrees in Sociology and Education and worked with youth for 15 years before going to the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies to study radio. She now happily lives and works in Woods Hole, MA where she is an independent producer/editor with Atlantic Public Media, Transom.org, and WCAI. And, where every day is a radio day.
Additional support for this work provided by
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