Photographer Joseph O Holmes is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. These images are from his project ‘The Souls of Machines – Streit’s‘. To see Joseph’s projects click on any image.
The Final Days of the Lower East Side Factory
Joseph O. Holmes carried his camera and tripod into the aging Streit’s matzo factory in the spring of 2015, intending to spend a few days capturing the workers and the ancient machines. But the machines were not cooperating, and instead Holmes watched the chief mechanic scramble to kick the aging mechanisms into working order. That scene exemplified the reasons the Streit family reluctantly decided to abandon the Lower East Side and build a modern factory outside the city.
Holmes ended up shooting for five weeks in the Rube Goldberg plant, through four buildings and six floors, observing first-hand how the flour moved through pneumatic tubes upstairs to the dumping stations, then back down through the floor to mixers, from there to the cutters with their stipplers and perforators and into the 75-foot 900-degree ovens, and finally transported on a series of gondolas through holes in the floors and walls to the packaging and wrapping machines — all under the supervision of rabbis.
Soon after Holmes shot his final photo, almost exactly 90 years after Aron Streit built the factory on Rivington Street, the family began the move to a new home 26 miles up the Hudson River.
By Joseph O Holmes