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“The first time I entered the hotel, I saw some of the most beautiful light I had ever seen,” Henry said. “The hotel is a prism designed to accentuate natural light. It’s heaven for a photographer.”
“The light reveals the old and the new,” photographer Benjamin Krain said. "Entering the building sent me through a portal to a distant place far away from Arkansas, with movie-set-like aesthetics and an apocalyptic presence."
Photographer Brandon Markin said, “I felt the rush of discovery — the thrill of looking at something magnificent that had suffered, but still retained a fundamental beauty the looters hadn’t destroyed.”
Another photographer in the group, Cary Jenkins, described the subjects of her images as “paint peels and flakes, plaster cracks and crumble — the marble lobby lighted by a large skylight, the intricate arches and balconies — not only alluring but breathtaking in beauty and an air of disrepair.”
The Hotel Pines is a six-story, U-shaped building offering unique views of Pine Bluff. Michael Hibblen, a photographer, recalls “I was struck by the thought of how many people, from all levels of society, stayed in luxury suites or dorm-sized rooms who observed vastly different activity on the streets of Pine Bluff as they looked through its windows over the 60 years it was opened.”
Photographer Rachel Worthen added, “The Hotel Pines is a building from a bygone era. To see the disintegration in real time is what called to me as a photographer and an Arkansan.”
Carla Koen, a photographer who grew up in Pine Bluff, knows the city and hotel well. “The Hotel Pines makes me wonder what could have been– just before the deterioration.” she said. “The only story now is one of a beautiful and beloved hotel that lost her fans and her beauty, and now stands as a reminder to us to take care of what we have now. It is like a conversation with a wise old woman.”
Photographer Cindy Adams said she hoped “to make one wonder what stories the old hotel would share with us if it could speak.”
Photographer Ann Bryan Ballard, also a historic preservation instructor at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, added. “It was like attending a funeral of a historic artifact. My photographs speak a eulogy of the building.”
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