21 Jun 2015

I feel closest to God after he’s left the building.

MorningSpotlightHDR2.wp

 

We were lucky enough to make our way into this church as a shaft of morning light was traversing the altar.

AltarGlow.wp

 

Perhaps one God has left, but Apollo’s eye still finds its way in every morning.

Cupola2.wp

 

Read More

15 Jun 2015

From a church in Detroit, whose famed winding wooden benches frame the odd mouldering prayerbook.

 

PewHymnal.wp

 

PewView.wp

Read More

13 Jun 2015

It seems that an abandoned church, in a city which is the epitome of fin de siecle American pessimism, would be a natural setting for some soul-searching and account taking. The past few weeks have seen me travel to Detroit and Saskatchewan in pursuit of the next Great Shot (its Greatness, however, usually being aspirational, and rarely actual) and left me more exhausted than I can ever recall being, and with more photos to process than I’ve ever had at one time. The question that seeps into a mind tired and numbed by travel and lack of sleep is “why am I doing this?”

Urbex photography is a bit dodgy when considered as an art form. Consider that many of its practitioners take pictures merely to document the fact that they’ve been someplace. Certainly it can be a touch formulaic. And what is it saying? The derogatory term “ruinporn” gets hung on it precisely because so much of it says little besides “look how awesome this abandoned shit looks!” The challenge for any artist is to have something, be it their own emotional voice, a social statement, or a personal aesthetic shine through their work. A great and well known photographer, Matthew Christopher, has a very noble conservationist stance on the buildings and places he shoots. Though I respect that, I’ve never been able to bemoan the process of decay that makes what I do possible. So what, then?

Unfortunately, I have no neat and ready answers here and now. I have progressed to the point where I can at least say that my shots do not totally suck. But what will they ever be besides (hopefully) pretty pictures? What I do know is that I love photography, and urbex photography particularly.  My answer right now seems to be to keep working on sharpening my voice, and hoping that it comes through.
Oh, and yes! A photograph: pulpit in aforementioned church.

PulpitSquare.wp

Read More

06 Jun 2015

20150602-DSCF1262 There’s a little place that’s off the beaten path in Saskatchewan called Fish Creek.  It’s not on any maps, and it’s a whole lot of traveling up and down grid roads to find it.  But when you do…you’re in for a treat.

20150602-DSCF1271

20150602-DSCF1264

Read More

13 May 2015

Streetlights filter through the windows of a shuttered Catholic church in Chicago.

CeilingSepia2.fb

Read More

26 Feb 2015

sanctuary in snow BLOG
Snowflakes descend like a pall upon casketed remains
The wind whispers secrets amidst the years of decay
Together, hand in hand, we share this moment so serene
Totally enamoured by the words she said to me

Read More

10 Feb 2015

On Pullman’s quad, across from the Florence Hotel, is this striking romanesque church, fittingly named for the color of its walls.

GreenstoneHDR.wp

Read More

02 Nov 2014

Methodist church in Gary, Autumn.

Ivy

Now onto winter.

Read More

25 Oct 2014

I’m coming to see the Methodist church in Gary, Indiana in a way not unlike a child might view its grandparent. Likely, your grandfather or -mother were already old when you first became aware of them. By the time you were in your teens or twenties, they were getting really old. And then you may have realized that they wouldn’t be around much longer. So it is with this church. We’ve been watching the decay progress for about six years now, but change is hard to see when it’s incremental. When a section of the roof fell in a few weeks ago, the change was stark.

The collapse does serve a purpose, vis-a-vis urbex: it is a memento mori of sorts, and a spur to to explore as much as one can, because it’s all coming down one way or another. And ours is not to question or get attached to ruins, but to document and create from them.

ChurchSky.wp

Nave and Sky II

 

For some scenes from this church in recent years prior to the roof cave in, click here.

Read More

19 Oct 2014

So I’ve already shared my first view of the piano that remained behind at a church quietly moldering away in a little neighborhood in Cleveland.  Tabula Rasa gave a more comprehensive view in a later post and that got my competitive spirit going.  So I went back into my files to see if I could produce something worthwhile to put him back in his place.

cleveland piano

I will leave it to you all to decide if I have achieved my goal.

Read More