SLEEPY HOLLOW, NEW YORK
Growing up my family would watch a low budget made-for-TV movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on VHS every single Halloween. Years later Tim Burton’s version of the story became one of my favorite movies, visually, ever. My assumptions and beliefs of what the town of Sleepy Hollow was like consisted of huge old gnarled trees, colonial New England style homes, grand costumes and hauntings by candlelight. A grandiose and dramatic American legend and the various ways in which it was re-told through Hollywood shaped my early beliefs of what the town must look like, at least a little.
Recently I went to Sleepy Hollow, NY for the first time. Save for an amazing cemetery and some museums, Sleepy Hollow looked like any other small, working-class town. And while the practical side of me knew I wouldn’t be greeted with horse and carriage and women in bustles, there really wasn’t anything other than the name scattered about the town on signs, that proved I was indeed in Sleepy Hollow. No colonial homes, no big gnarled trees. Instead pizza joints and gas stations, vinyl sided homes and Virgin Mary statues.
The town in my American legend ended up being as average an American town as possible. And although I’ll always love the version in my imagination, I’ll appreciate the real place quite a bit more.
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EE Berger is a photographer Detroit bred and Brooklyn based. She seeks out emptiness, solitude and peaceful moments and was recently selected as one of Photoboite’s “30 Women Photographers Under 30" for 2013. You can find her on Tumblr at eeberger.tumblr.com, and find her website at eebergerphoto.com.