USA Yesterday


I suppose some might consider this a companion piece to the chalkboard photo I posted a few weeks ago, though that was not my intention when I shot it. I was out walking around for a bit, with my camera over my shoulder just looking around to see if anything caught my eye. Soon I came across what appeared to be an abandoned USA Today newspaper dispenser, and it struck me as a bit of an oddity in today’s ultra-digital, hyper-connected world. The slogan “The Nation’s Newspaper” was almost a bit sad, as this is clearly no longer the case as readership of the venerable news outlet has continued to slide in recent years. What struck me even more was the context in which this vending machine was placed. It’s resting humbly under the balcony of one of the older dormitories on campus, and you can clearly see some visual cues here that show its misplacement in our modern world as well: tile on one wall, rock on another, and angled support braces. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore, and when you look at more modern architecture, it’s easy to see why :)

I believe this is only the second black and white picture I have posted to Weekly Fifty. I like to use this technique sparingly, and with a specific purpose in mind. In this case I think the lack of color hearkens back to heydays of both the paper and the building. I wanted to create a specific mood for the viewer that just didn’t quite work in color, and I hope it works. You can see the colorized version here, though it also lacks some of the other visual tweaks like radial filter adjustments and a bit of highlight/shadow adjustments too.

On a bright day like this I would normally shoot at f/4 or smaller, but I wanted just a bit of DOF to show the position of the vending machine relative to the vertical support on the right-hand side. No need to use anything higher than ISO 200 either, and I am quite pleased with the end result.


  1. Black and white on this dilapidated News stand conveys sort of a bleak message, of things gone by, of things of the past, of the way the world turns. Sadly, time and the news wait for no one.

    • I wonder if my kids will stumble across one of these someday and wonder what it’s for. They’ll probably say the same thing about laptops and iPhones too–by then we’ll all just be holographic projections or something :)

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