Cape Cod: Places, Faces and Spaces

A new project for 2015

Central Shoe Repair photo essay  (Flash)

McClean’s Barber Shop photo essay (Flash)

Stan McClean, barber

Stan McClean, barber

Last December, I decided to start work on a photo project I’d spent much time thinking about. I’ve lived on the Cape and Islands since 1997, and spent many vacations here in the 1970s when I was a child. One thing that always set the Cape apart from my hometown of Yonkers, NY, was the people. I remember taking early morning walks with my father and buying homemade “tookies” out of Mrs. Folger’s garage in West Dennis. Mrs. Folger was slight and pithy, and scribbled out the daily offerings of baked goods on a blackboard sign in the front of her house. Her wheelchair bound husband circled in the garage and would roll up to my dad with an empty coffee can. When Mrs. Folger went into the kitchen to make change, my dad would slip a couple of Marboros into Mr. Folger’s can. Our halfmoons and brownies in hand, we’d walk back to our rented pine cottage to awaken my brother and sister.

The Folgers are long gone, but after all this time I realized I had a need to reconcile my memory with actuality. I decided to seek out some of these people on the Cape today and have tentatively titled the project: Cape Cod: Places, Faces and Spaces. I’m particularly interested in people with unusual jobs or those who work in unique spaces, or have long history with the area. By chance I walked into the Central Shoe Repair Shop on Main Street in Hyannis. I quickly forgot about my ill-fitting boots and was fascinated by the shop interior filled with antique shoe stretchers, shoe-shine thrones and shoe-repair tools. Sola, the owner, has been running the shop for more than 30 years. Sola and Central Shoe Repair were my first essay: Central Shoe Repair essay. Thank you Sola for giving me access to your wonderful shop.

Just a block away on Barnstable Road is Stan  McClean’s barber shop. Stan came with his family from Nova Scotia in the 1920s and his father opened the shop in 1923. I spent about an hour with Stan on a cold January morning, you can see some of the shots here. Stan runs the shop with his son, Stan Jr., and I thank them both for being some welcoming to me.

My goal for this project is to continue seeking out and archiving Cape places and people. It saddens me to think of day when Sola and Stan might retire, as they are so much a part of the texture of the village of Hyannis. Here’s where you come in: if you know of anyone who might be a good subject for a photo essay, please visit my contact page and send me an email.  I’ll post more essays as soon as I have some!