On, October 29, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coe Memorial Park Civic Center located on 101 Litchfield S., Emery 'Ted' Roth II, a photographer and writer, will host a slide presentation and program titled Finding Brass Valley. The slide show chronicles Roth's experiences as he chronicled the last vestiges of the brass industry in the Naugatuck Valley.
The slide show is based on a newly published book by Roth, Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry (Schiffer Press, October 2015). Both the book and the program pay homage to the industrial history of the Naugatuck Valley, a history which began in the early 19th century. Known in particular for its large scale brass manufacturing, the region eventually came to be known as the "Brass Valley" and mill towns such as Torrington and Waterbury developed into thriving cultural centers.
By the 21st century, few of those mills remained in operation. Ted Roth, on a mission to capture the vestiges of a disappearing aspect of American life, began photographing some of the last working brass mills in the Naugatuck Valley. During that time, the management and workers of these last brass mills invited him to shoot anywhere and at any time. This continued until 2014, when the last plant closed, and the tradition of soot-covered workers charging generations-old furnaces came to an end. His images, both artistic and documentary, capture the glowing metal flying through the air at a foundry in its final days, the vast structures that housed industries, and the abandoned opera houses, train tracks, and other remnants of a once vibrant infrastructure and way of life.
Over 230 such images appear in Roth's book, Brass Valley. Ted Roth's program on October 29th will include a selection of his photographs from the book but he will also talk about what it means to try and find "Brass Valley", a place in time that has not quite vanished.
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