Square Shots

with 4 Comments


This post is not about square picture formats as the title might suggest. It’s about the Columbia, Tennessee square, one of my favorite town squares. Its courthouse centerpiece dates back to 1904. The courthouse has a grandiose presence. Around this centerpiece, you will find local government businesses and privately own businesses. These businesses are located around the roundabout that circles the courthouse and they are located along the 4 streets leading to each face of the courthouse on the North, South, East and West sides. The private businesses range from places to dine to boutique shops and retail. There are event venues and places for children. Over the last few years, I’ve seen a significant increase in business around the square. More and more vacant buildings are being brought back to life. The notes of live music can be heard floating around the square along with the enticing smell of food. I see more families and couples going in and out or stores. There appears to be a revival happening in downtown Columbia.

As this revival and beautification of the downtown area continues, I will continue to bring out my cameras to capture its beauty. This time around, I put together a group of shots that spans over the last several weeks with the exception of one image. These shots also span over 3 different cameras and 2 different film stocks. Let’s start with a shot of the courthouse. As you read through this post, you can click on any image to view it in the lightbox.

The next group of shots were taken at the courthouse and around the roundabout.



I would imagine the next best place to be if you are not directly around the courthouse is down one of the 4 streets leading to the roundabout.



There is an iconic storefront and sign that I failed to capture during these outings. It didn’t hit me until I had all my film developed. This business has been a part of Columbia’s downtown since 1955. It’s trademark sign is probably the most recognized sign in Maury County. That small business is Ted’s Sporting Goods Store. Here is a exerpt from their website.


In 1955 with no more than a few boxes of inventory and a friendly welcome for each customer through the door, Ted Davis established what is now a Columbia landmark. The premier place to fill your hunting, sporting and outdoor needs, Ted’s is still dedicated to its founding goal: to provide the best product with even better service.

    Originally, Ted’s was a one-room operation offering army surplus goods. Faye Davis, wife and present owner says, “Ted gathered what products he could find, put the inventory in boxes, since shelves weren’t part of the ‘budget’ and then he’d be himself. That is, he would welcome each customer as a new friend.” As his business grew and the store filled, he acquired new space. Ted’s was, as his sign boasted, “Bigger and Better.” However, there was a problem; because of a painter’s mistake the “B’s in “Bigger and Better” were painted upside down. Ted, unbothered and characteristically humored, thought the sign was great and not only hung it, but also flipped his name marquis upside-down as well. Ted’s is now across the street from its original location, but it still remains “upside-down Ted’s.” 


Since I did not capture a black and white film shot of the store, I pulled a digital photo from the archives and gave it a black and white treatment in Lightroom. I also gave it a 16:9 frame to enhance the composition.


As I finish writing this post, I have decided to start another project on the downtown area. This time I am going to shoot in color using Ektar 100. I believe I am going to shoot this project in medium format with my Mamiya 645 1000s. I haven’t decided on the particulars, but I am going to concentrate on the cityscape and still life. I don’t have a lot of images of the square on color film. I believe the square will look great on Ektar, so stay tuned. If you missed my Mule Day Parade coverage from the downtown Columbia area, check out my post “It’s a Southern Thang.” Thanks for reading!

4 Responses

  1. Jim Grey
    | Reply

    Very nice – your photos give a real sense of the place.

  2. inklingscommunity
    | Reply

    I like the textures and feel of the Square Market shot (also that the photo itself is a squared-in shot). Love the little kid reaching up for his donut like a sacrament; great capture of a great truth: “Donuts are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” 😉

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