She was dead when I got there, so I can’t empathize,
Nor am I interested in seeing her revived.
But deliberate destruction strikes a note with this mortician,
She was my own secret place between death and disposition.
Today, Moribund brought myself and the Idiot Photographer on an exploration of a decommissioned military base he visited a couple weeks ago. I think we’ll have fodder for a bristling handful of posts in the days and weeks to come, and tonight’s entry will serve as a general intro.
The main remaining structure is the academy, an uncannily deceptive building which frustrates attempts at mental mapping. It is essentially a series of jointed hallways with offices and classrooms nestled within. The shot below gives a good idea of what a lot of the campus looked like.
Sometimes we come across scenes which appear to be a clamorous fall taking place before our eyes, and yet are mute and still. The ice here only serves to heighten the sense that the entirety is merely frozen, and will crash when we leave the room.
I recall it was enough, in high school, to mention you were going to the “Southside” to cement your badass cred. It would suffice to say you had driven past a numbered street (most east-west streets south of Madison are numbered in Chicago, as opposed to their conventionally named counterparts on the north side) to get a wide-eyed stare of fear and respect. When I had gotten lost as a freshly-licensed sixteen year old and wound up in a fender bender on 111th street, my friends acted as if I had walked into Mordor and back out again.
When I began work at the company I’m still with, I wound up having to drive around the Southside as part of my job. As I got to see the vast swaths of industry, housing projects and rusting infrastructure, my interest in urban exploration was born. Not yet urbex, in the sense of exploring the abandoned, but just visiting the less traveled corners of the city. There was a fascination in coming across the loneliest intersection in Chicago, or a former Nike missile launch site. Early on, this particular vista made a big impression on me: the bend in the Calumet River around 130th and Cottage Grove, looping around a massive factory. I’ve never been able to get a shot which captures the impression this peninsula makes on a passing motorist. I think one would have to get closer, maybe shooting from a boat on the river. But here’s my last attempt from a recent visit, all gussied up in High Dynamic Range and melancholy colors. Perhaps you’ll give me points for style.