One of Benita VanWinkle's favorite theaters she has photographed is the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to VanWinkle, the old theater is supposedly haunted by a ghost that operates the building's elevator. / photo by Benita VanWinkle

Highpoint, N.C. – NC college instructor captures theaters in photos

Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 - AP

One of Benita VanWinkle's favorite theaters she has photographed is the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to VanWinkle, the old theater is supposedly haunted by a ghost that operates the building's elevator. / photo by Benita VanWinkle

One of Benita VanWinkle’s favorite theaters she has photographed is the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to VanWinkle, the old theater is supposedly haunted by a ghost that operates the building’s elevator. / photo by Benita VanWinkle

For more than 30 years, Benita VanWinkle has tried to preserve a disappearing piece of Americana – the old, vintage movie theaters of yesteryear  - the only way she knows how.

One frame at a time.

VanWinkle, an art instructor at High Point University – and a longtime professional photographer – has been traipsing across America, often finding herself in small, off-the-beaten-path towns, photographing theaters of a bygone era for a book she hopes to publish.

Some of the theaters remain in operation, though that number continues to dwindle. Others stand vacant, inhabited only by rats, ghosts and dim memories of a heyday that has long since faded to black.

“For me, I think the real draw of the movie theater is that it’s something that’s so ubiquitous, so common throughout every small town,” VanWinkle says. “They were bright, colorful, enticing. And they were a way for people, no matter how much money you had, to be swept away to some other place and time, to forget about all your troubles. I think they’re just these fantasy worlds where we allow ourselves to be a little vulnerable, where we allow ourselves to go someplace else.”

For additional PHOTOS and to read the entire article, go to: http://www.hpe.com/life/features/x583709631/HPU-instructor-photographs-vintage-movie-theaters-for-book

Thanks to THS member Jonathan Boschen for sending the article.

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