At Robin Shwedo Productions, we found our website had started growing to where it seemed almost overwhelming. What's a small business to do?
Suddenly, it hit us...Some of our photo documentaries are somewhat older. While we may occasionally add an update, these documentaries are basically works we've done in the past. But while they are past works, they are still relevant on some level. Hence, our archive site.
Salt Creek Artworks
Note: This photo (and video) documentary is almost finished; it's temporarily in the Archives section.
Salt Creek Artworks is a refurbished warehouse in south St. Petersburg, Florida. For years, it was used as a warehouse, but when the last business vacated the building in the early 1990s, the owner decided to build art studios in the huge building. Since 1993, artists have rented studios on a month-to-month basis. While many of the artists over the years have painted, there have also been sculptors, multimedia artists, and photographers, many with a decent-sized following.
In May 2012, the building's owner, granddaughter of the original owner, had to sell the building; while the reasons were well beyond her control, it took an emotional toll on her. The artists will have to be out by July, as the new owners are planning to raze the building to make a parking lot.
The photos which will be posted will record the end of an era; there will also be a video documenting this. (Please check back for photos and videos.)
Suncoast Haven of Rest Mission
Suncoast Haven of Rest Mission has been located in Pinellas Park, Florida for over tweny years. Their main mission has been to help the homeless, as well as those struggling to remain housed, serving meals on site and at a nearby tent city, as well as assistance in other areas.
Recent building sales have forced the Mission to look for another location, most likely outside Pinellas Park city limits.
These photos will be incorporated into a larger photo documentary dealing with homelessness in Pinellas County, Florida. While most areas of the U.S. are affected by homelessness, we are focusing on our corner of the country, with the understanding that what the local poor and homeless are going through is indicative of what others are going through in other parts of the country.
Matthew - A Life
Matthew lives in Pinellas County, Florida, although his story could be almost anyone's, anywhere.
A multiply-challenged individual--visually impaired (Retinitis Pigmentosa), chromosomal disorder (Bardet-Biedl), surgery when he was six months old (craniosynostosis)--he manages to keep a positive spin on life...most of the time.
Recently, Matthew lost his job of five-and-a-half years. He had worked as a donor greeter and donation sorter for Boley Centers, a local agency. Due to the recent economy, the center had to shut down all of its donation centers for its thrift store. Prior to this job, Matthew worked for another five-and-a-half years at Goodwill Industries.
He lives with his mother and younger brother.
Note: Great news! We just learned that after almost four years of being unemployed, Matthew has started a new job. It has been a long struggle for Matthew to find work, but he kept at it. It even utilizes skills he acquired while volunteering at the local library's gift shop. Way to go, Matthew! Update: He's now been employed at his new job for more than a year. Yay!
Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida
Years ago, St. Petersburg had the reputation as a sleepy little town. Okay, maybe a medium-sized town, but sleepy, nonetheless. God's waiting room, a city where people would come to retire, do a little shopping, have lunch, then sit outside on St. Pete's famous green benches.
Besides Haslam's Bookstore, there are quirky eateries, clothing stores, and a thriving art community. On a recent Saturday evening, this art community held its monthly art walk; artists have been known to open their studios for people to check out. There are also musicians playing on street corners for patrons' enjoyment.
One such group is the Rare Phorm Band. On a recent weekend, they played an energetic session that drew a small crowd. When I first wandered by, the group consisted of Eric (on drums), and Vic and Greg on guitar; they were joined a little later by a fourth member. (Guys, if any of you are reading this, post a comment on the last page of our site to let me know who your fourth member is...Thanks, in advance!)
Another regular happening in St. Pete is the Saturday Morning Market. From October through May, it is held at Progress Energy Park (100 1st Street SE), and at Williams Park from June through August. The market has vendors selling food, crafts, art...frequently with a backdrop of music.
One of the favorite vendors at the market is Mr. Brady Johnson, otherwise known as Mr. I-Got-'em; you can read about him here. If you've never watched an elegant tuxedoed man with a top hat cooking barbecue (or tasted fine barbecue), Mr. I-Got-'em is worth the trip.
Clothesline Project - Domestic Violence
Some scenes evoke thoughts of an idyllic home life: a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove; freshly baked bread; clean laundry drying on the clothesline, dancing in the breeze.
For years, women would hang laundry out to dry while sharing news over the fence with their neighbors: happy news, mundane stories, and, maybe an occasional secret, beginning with, "You won't believe what happened" and ending with, "You gotta promise not to tell..."
The Clothesline Project is a national memorial to the victims of Domestic Violence, with many communities having their own Clothesline Project for women in their area. Many shirts are decorated by survivors; others are created in memory of those women, children, and, yes, the occasional man murdered by "loved ones".
These photos will eventually be part of a larger photo documentary on Domestic Violence.
The first three rows of photos were taken at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg on March 3, 2010; more will be added in the near future, as well as a short video. The other photos were taken several years ago at Crescent Lake in St. Petersburg, FL.
***If you, or someone you know, is in an abusive relationship, please get help: Call 911. Or call the National 24-Hour Helpline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233).