‘The Best of Times’ captures local, nostalgic images

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By KAREN RAPOLLA
Staff Writer

Turn the page of a calendar and turn back into time.

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That moment can be captured in “The Best of Times,” the fourth annual calendar created by Dorn’s Classic Images (DCI), featuring select majestic photographs that capture some of Monmouth County’s most memorable treasures of a time gone by.

The 2017 calendar is graced with the rare visions of wonderfully nostalgic, classic images. Photo selections from DCI’s vast 10,000+ archive are chosen by DCI owners George and Kathy Severini of Fair Haven.

This year, the majestic Twin Lights, the stately Haskell Race Meet (Hunt) and beautiful Eastmont Orchards (formerly Delicious Orchards farm) are included. Some of the most memorable and marvelously nostalgic treasures that were once great picturesque testaments to a Jersey Shore of yesteryear are calendar highlights as well. They include the Arabesque Mayfair Theatre in Asbury Park, Dorn’s Photo Shop in Red Bank, the railroad tracks in Sea Bright and the Red Bank Airport.

DCI co-owner George Severini noted, “Every year as the holidays approach, the retailers who carry our calendar call to say customers are looking forward to what has become a tradition. We’re proud that they’re eager to find out the year’s theme and which photos made the cut.”

Dorn’s Photo Shop was established in 1937 in Red Bank by Daniel B. Dorn, Kathy Dorn Severini’s grandfather. Her father, Daniel W. Dorn, an aerial photographer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and documentary filmmaker, later ran the Dorn’s Photography retail business.

The shop sold photography equipment and provided photography services that included film development, negative and photo restoration and photo printing. They served as community photographers, filmmakers and even produced newsreels as well as aerial photography.

When the retail store closed in 2004, Kathy Dorn Severini inherited the thousands of antique and nostalgic images and formed the business Dorn’s Classic Images to preserve and market them.

The collection of extraordinary, iconic landmarks and moments in time has become a valuable source of the area’s rich history.

“Both my Grandfather and Dad were passionate about photography and preserving the local area’s history through these precious images,” said Kathy Dorn Severini.

The oldest and rarest photos in DCI’s collection date as far as 1885. Many of the images from the late 1800s to the early 1920s are glass plate negatives, which have an extraordinary resolution. They are extremely delicate, the glass being even thinner than the glass of a window pane.

Remembering back to the beginnings of her stewardship of the archive, Kathy Dorn Severini said, “When I opened a box of antique glass plate negatives for the first time, I was hooked. I’d found gold.”

The calendar again has two captivating “front” covers, which capture the area’s “good old days,” with a theme that conveys those special treasures that reside in your mind’s eye.

“It’s fascinating to see what once existed in this area. There are just so many treasures that have long ago disappeared,” said Kathy Dorn Severini.

The much sought-after calendars, which retail for $12 are available directly from DCI in Fair Haven, www.dornsclassicimages.com as well as through a PayPal link posted on the DCI’s Facebook page. They can be contacted at dornsclassics@gmail.com or by calling 732-747-9350.

Calendars are also available through select local retailers, including Sickles Market, Little Silver; Bain’s Hardware, Sea Bright; Red Bank FrameWorks; Renaissance, Atlantic Highlands; Fair Haven Hardware; New Corner Restaurant, Red Bank; The Bagel Station, Red Bank; and Alphagraphics, Red Bank.

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