27 Jun 2015

We were almost done going through this defunct hospital in Detroit when we found the operating rooms. In total darkness, overhead lamps leered from the ceiling, while rusting cabinets lined the walls. An already successful exploration had gotten that much better.

ORLights.wp

 

Shooting by flashlight isn’t ideal, and of all the angles and takes I tried this is really the only one that looks halfway decent. Hopefully, it conveys a bit of the sense of place.

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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

 

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15 Jun 2015

Records cabinets have an oblique standoff in the radiology department of a shuttered Detroit hospital.

How

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15 Jun 2015

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

 

PewHymnal.wp

 

PewView.wp

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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

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04 Jul 2014

Currently my friends and I have our images hanging the gallery at our local library.  It is a modest first show but given how well trafficked and relevant our library is to our community a lot people are going to see it.  This Sunday is the Artist Reception and I figured that since most of you will not be able to come out and visit us we’d offer up our images here in a virtual gallery.

So step right in and welcome to “Trespass; Exploring Urban Decay”.

gallery ppano

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Statement:

In the downtown of a once major city a long abandoned hotel looms over city hall, just two blocks away a massive church sits crumbling beneath a blanket of ivy and trees sprout from its rooftop. Places like these are our memento mori, reminders that in our world of newer, better and shinier everything will one day crumble and return to earth, even the mightiest works of our hands. In them I find not only a reminder of my mortality and the frailty of our creations, but a celebration of life and wonder where owls nest in long forgotten coal hoppers and rabbits make a home on the third floor of a long abandoned factory.
Exploring these places involves risks most people are not comfortable with, but in them there is a sense of completeness the world we choose to live in lacks. This is why I explore.

 

Gravity

Gary Indiana

gravity

 

 

 

 

 

Above

Gary Indiana

above

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Hall

Gary Indiana

frozen hall

 

 

 

 

Postal Wonderland

Gary Indiana

postal wonderland

 

 

 

 

 

Piano Blocakde

Warren Michigan

piano blockade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Order

Gary Indiana

police order.

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In Silence

Gary Indiana

In silence.

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Arch and Stair

St. Louis Missouri

Arch and Stair.

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The Floor Divergent

Detroit Michigan

the floor divergent.

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Grief Brothers Window #2

Gary Indiana

window

 

 

 

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25 Mar 2014
20 Mar 2014

guest post: FOMO

This is a guest post from our companion on our most recent visit to Packard.  You can visit her blog at juniorbbq.wordpress.com

So, I have this thing called FOMO…or “Fear Of Missing Out” syndrome. People can’t put an inkling of a thought in my head that even REMOTELY interests me, because I’m going to fixate on it and make life difficult until I just DO it already. My trip to Detroit was just that…a textbook case.

I came across The Idiot Photographer blog just surfing the internet. I love photography, with a main focus on urban exploration. So does The Idiot Photographer, so I struck up a facebook conversation. I gathered that, from the photos on the site, that The Idiot Photographer was PROBABLY from Indiana, and being a regular visitor to Chicago I thought maybe I could get a tour of Gary from said person. I knew nothing else about this person, aside from the photos I saw resonated with me and I wanted to soak up more. This was about 6 months ago, or so.

Then I got an email in January. “Our plans are to be in Detroit in early February to explore all of Packard (and whatever else we may find if time allows). I don’t know how close to Detroit you are, but you’re welcome to join us.” Oh…my…heck. First of all, an invite to the MECCA of urban exploration. Secondly, in DETROIT? How was I going to make this work? I’m a two-and-a-half day drive from Detroit, and a plane ticket would be INSANE! But, FOMO. And I made it work. There I was, on a plane on Valentine’s Day, going to a derelict city I’ve been to ONCE, meeting people I have never laid eyes on, to a place that is the largest abandoned structure in the WORLD. I don’t know if these people are going to knock me out with a tripod and leave me in the ruins that are the Packard Plant. But, FOMO.

We met early Saturday morning at the Eastern Market. My sherpas seem affable…but I’m still wary. It’s cold, it’s early, I had no Tim Hortons in me…I don’t know what to expect. In a foreign country with complete strangers. No one can accuse me of not living life, right? FOMO, after all.

Then, there in front of me, the sprawling ruins of the Packard Automotive Plant. We parked inside one of the warehouses to keep out of suspecting eyes, and off we went.

And it was amazing.

For someone who lives on the prairies, where vast emptiness dotted with abandoned farmhouses are the norm, I felt way out of my element but excited at this new challenge. The Idiot Photographer coined the phrase, “the never ending Packard”…and no truer words had been spoken. It seems rooms went on forever. The graffiti went on forever. The discarded bricks and smashed windows and staircases to more never ending rooms.

Packard-164

The cold went on forever too, it seemed. About two hours in, I was COLD. And I’m a Canadian from The Prairies. I live in a city coined Winter-peg, for crying out loud. And I was COLD. But I don’t say anything, because I don’t want to be “that guy”, right? I’ve got something to prove to these people who were kind enough to think of me and invite me along on a trip that was clearly important to them. But hell. I was getting to the point where I didn’t know how much more I could handle. And it was only nine in the morning! Fortunately Tabula Rasa had a brilliant idea…let’s get some breakfast to warm up, and then re-evaluate the situation. At that point, I was thinking of telling them that I’ll have some coffee and breakfast, but then I was going to head out. I was cold.

Over breakfast, conversation went all over the place, and I got to know my sherpas better. WONDERFUL people. Love what they do. The Idiot Photographer talked about a particular place that needed to be shot…the ring-toss room…and how cool it looked. I’m still on the fence about whether I wanted to go back out into the cold, but…oh…here it comes again…FOMO! The Idiot Photographer was REALLY adamant about the ring-toss room and the way it was described well, I just HAD to see it for myself. So, we bundle up and off we go again…to get back into the depths of Packard.

Packard-106

I am THRILLED that I made the decision not to wuss out. With a belly full of eggs and bacon and coffee…delicious, delicious coffee…I had my second wind. I was seeing the plant now as more than something with four walls (sometimes) that was holding on to the cold and shoving it down my throat. I was SEEING the rooms, the graffiti, the broken glass and discarded bricks that went on forever. Tabula Rasa and The Idiot Photographer were playing a game of dueling staircases…I was soaking it ALL in. And I loved EVERY…SINGLE…SECOND of it all. My lower back was SCREAMING in pain, and I think I popped out my hip climbing through a hole in a wall to get to a precarious ledge, and I lost feeling in a couple toes, but I wasn’t stopping. In fact, I think they would have had to drag me out of there if they were ready to be finished and I wasn’t ready to go.

FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. I have it, and it was the best case of giving in than I can remember.

Packard-81

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15 Mar 2014

 

Trying to stay on theme, but at some point the corridors in Packard grew to wide avenues or else encroaching ruin had made them barely passable. Are these still hallways? Close enough for the purpose of getting a blog post up, I’d say.

 

FloorboardSurf.wp

Surfing Floorboards

 

PackardMorningWreckage.wp

Morning Ruin

 

 

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13 Mar 2014

 

The same fantastic hallway as appeared in IP’s last post, but photographed from a different spot. And in sepia tone, because I’m fucking artsy.

 

 

PackardOfficeHDR.Sepia.wp

Skeletal Hallway.

 

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