A Steel and Brass Beauty



CleveTrust4After some technical difficulties yesterday, I finally got things squared away to publish my first post of 2013! For those of you interested, Photoshop, and everything else for that matter, works a little differently on a Mac Platform and for some reason when I saved these photos, after editing, the jpg extension was not there and I couldn’t upload the photos! That possibility occurred to me last night and after correcting it things are back on track. Except to figure out why it didn’t save the photos with the extension?

Well anyway, I was anxious to post these photos! Last Friday I had the opportunity to gain access to the over 100 year old, now closed, Cleveland Trust Bank in downtown Cleveland. The Cleveland Photographic Society, of which I am a member, provided this opportunity and many more to places the general public does not have access to. The architecture of this building could have occupied my 2 hours alone. The building rotunda skylight is a 60 foot in diameter Tiffany stained glass dome! I’ll post photos of it at a later date. I chose to spend all but just a few minutes exploring and photographing the amazingly beautiful details of 4-5 vaults! When we enter a bank today, we often do see the large stainless steel vault door swung open and marvel at its size and mechanical complexity, but as the photo above shows, they don’t make them like this anymore! This vault, put in place during the years 1906-1908 is a thing of beauty! I tried to photograph it from every angle possible and then moved in on some of the details.

Vault detail

Vault detail

The vault timing and locking mechanism looked like the workings of a fine watch or clock but massive in size. Brass and steel, machined precisely and standing the test of time! Even the bolts holding things together, were engraved!

A lone key

A lone key

Inside the vaults, were hundreds and hundreds of Safety Deposit Boxes of all sized and styles. Some large boxes painted white with combination locks built into them and then the type more common today. All showing the patina of age and use and once again showing beauty in construction that we just don’t see anymore!

Not like all the others

Not like all the others

Along with the sheer beauty, I think one thing that struck me most was the signs of age and use. I suppose all of the safety deposit box doors look like this one at some point in time, but this one stood out, with a few others, for its different, newer coloration. As you look at some of these photos, you can see the stains of years of usage, the wear on certain parts of the vault door and box doors. You begin to think of the workers and customers who were in and out of these vaults and boxes over the years and imagine all types of things! Were some tycoons? Well, judging by the sizes of some of the vaults and boxes and the fact that just down the street from the bank was known as Millionaire’s Row, housing the Rockefeller’s and other well known entrepreneurs, I would imagine so!

The sad thing is, this old building will now be raised or renovated and I just wonder what will become of these beautiful remnants of the past glory?




About Kolman Rosenberg

My interest in photography began as a college newspaper and yearbook photographer during the stormy 1960s and 1970s. I was influenced by many of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers such as W. Eugene Smith, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and other black and white photographers of Life Magazine and the earlier Farm Security Administration. Though many of these photographers documented the horrors of war and the plight of poverty, they also showed me the dignity and adaptability of human beings in their desire to prevail.
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8 Responses to A Steel and Brass Beauty

  1. Caroline says:

    Beautiful pictures, Kolman! Well worth the effort to get them up. These make me want to join CPS. Alas, something else has to budge from my plate before that can happen. Can’t wait to see the shots of the skylight.


    • Hey thanks Caroline! Yes, CPS really keeps me inspired by seeing the work of others and by offering these great opportunities! Let me know if you just want to go some Friday night! They meet just about every Friday. Or just stop in, meetings are always open to visitors.


  2. Patricia, Wellington Ohio says:

    Love those details, number two is my favorite. Wish I could have been there camera in hand.


  3. Barb Cerrito says:

    Loved your images Kolman. You caputured the beauty and craftmanship that is there. It is a spectacular building and I hope the new owners don’t ruin it’s beauty.


  4. mflores01 says:

    Terrific images!!!


    • Thanks Melissa! I love shooting detail shots like some of those! I think that’s what I turn to when I get burned out or can’t think of things to go shoot! I can always find little things that we see everyday and take for granted, that have interest if we take the time to notice!


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