MIDDLETOWN — Retired Middletown Police Chief Lynn Baldoni is looking at doorways and other architectural features with a new perspective: through a camera lens.
“The character of the doors and entrances is much different from what you see now. They’re different — they’re unique in many ways,” she said, with different architectural styles: archways, awnings, windows.
“Some of the coolest shots are in older sections of town. “When you put the decorations on, it really makes it stand out,” or “pop,” she said.
Since mid-December, Baldoni, an amateur photographer who retired from the city’s force in 2009, has shared on Facebook a growing album of Connecticut doors decorated for the holidays, garnering widespread interest, she said.
She relies on her Olympus micro four-thirds, because it’s lighter and easier to carry around, compared to older cameras.
The personality of homeowners and verve for the holiday season shine through in these photographs, which show a range of Connecticut’s house and public entryways in Middletown, Durham, Middlefield, East Haddam, Guilford, Newington, Old Wethersfield, Wallingford, Hartford and Watertown.
The Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown was an interesting subject. “I find it inviting. You can see the reflection of the pine trees — you can almost see right through,” Baldoni said.
Her interest lies in “what catches my eye,” said Baldoni, also coordinator of Warm the Children for the Middletown Kiwanis Club. The initiative pairs members and other donors with families in need of winter clothing.
Given the robust reaction on social media, she’s mulling the idea of printing cards and selling them, with all proceeds going to Warm the Children. One friend even suggested she photograph doors during all four seasons, an idea that intrigues Baldoni.
She’s mostly drawn to “old and abandoned stuff.” One outing involved a visit to a massive junkyard. “It’s just acres of old cars that have been abandoned, sitting there, rotting,” Baldoni explained.
Since retiring, she’s attended a number of classes at colleges, artistic organizations and programs through adult education, including the West Hartford Art League, Farmington Valley Arts Center, and Tunxis Community College in Farmington, where she earned a noncredit certificate in photography.
Baldoni has photographed the Old Lyman homestead in Middlefield, houses on Guilford’s Main Street, 2 Wrastlin’ Cats coffee shop and Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Asylum Hill Congregational church in Hartford, the Wethersfield Grange, as well as many locations throughout Middletown: the Inn at Middletown, Middlesex County Historical Society, First Church, and the old firehouse on Hubbard Street.
She’s also taken photography trips to “ghost towns” in Nevada last year, as well as to an abandoned warehouse in Waterbury, which she visited early one morning to capture its facade in interesting light.
“You can’t access any of them, but, from the street, I got a couple really nice shots. For the most part, they’re vacant. One of them had a tree growing out of the window,” Baldoni said.
She’s particularly loves the doors of old churches and other historical buildings.
“The character of the doors and entrances is much different from what you see now. They’re different — they’re unique in many ways,” said Baldoni, who is also drawn to archways, awnings and windows.
“Some of the coolest shots are in older sections of town. “When you put the decorations on, it really makes it stand out” — or “pop,” she said.
Always mindful of not disturbing the occupants, Baldoni takes her photos from the sidewalk or, a few times, from her car window.
Baldoni, who has taken a bit of artist license with the shots, has employed apps such as Snapseed, colorizing and upping the contrast, adding filters and effects. In a few cases, she’s changed the hue of a door to amp up its visual appeal.
“I have a blast,” she said.
To view project photos, visit Lynn Baldoni Photography on Facebook.