This is a short series on a great find of ours, a coal power plant in Chicago’s south suburbs. This HDR on this shot is a bit dodgy, but it captures the presence of the place. It’ll have to do until I can reshoot it.
The interior is a smorgasbord of light, shape and texture. There are rich colors too, all in that slightly-faded-old-industry-color palette.
As one climbs higher, one has to make judgement calls about the relative safety of successive paths. I didn’t take this one.
At the top of the plant, at the end of a queasy climb, is this giant room. No idea what purpose the rails served, but if one was to fall through them, it was a fifty foot drop down into a huge vat.
Apartment living, if only the neighbors upstairs would turn that music down.
The saddest little kitchen.
Someone really loved coffee.
There is no door, only the memory of one.
A shot to illustrate the above. The loneliest intersection within city limits, a picture of which the Idiot Photographer has already shared with you. One could sleep in the middle of this road and not worry about being run over for days. If you can relate to the singular kind of thrill we got when we stumbled upon this, you’re definitely getting the vibe of what we’re after.
It’s apparent that our particular interest lies in urban decay. This is a short apologia for what is perhaps merely a trend in aesthetics, photography in particular.
Our lives are easy. And safe. One can get in a car and drive two whole days in any direction (from Chicago, anyway) and count on the same network of stores, restaurants, and cell coverage everywhere. This is nice, but boring. People seek out the little diners, the mom n’ pop stores, to get away from McDonald’s and WalMarts. To get to what they think is authentic.
The photography analogue is urban exploration. Chicago’s skyline is beautiful, and rightly famous. It’s also there for the taking, photographically speaking. But finding the sights few see is a thrill in itself. If I’m to cultivate an art, shouldn’t there be some toil to it? Some exploration, some dirt, some pain and some risk? In our case, some chance of arrest?
I’m not fetishizing rust or industry, I’m not goth. I know beauty exists and can be sought anywhere and everywhere one cares to look. So it’s in the pursuit of a more elusive quarry that my passions lie.
A trip into St. John’s Hospital, a defunct black-only facility in Gary, Indiana, yielded this find. I picked this as an introductory photo because it was the first time I got good results with HDR, which seemed a huge breakthrough when you’re doing a lot of shots in dim light in abandoned buildings.
I’ve always been a shutterbug but I never took learning photography seriously until I began urban exploring. I would have never begun urban exploring if Tabula Rasa hadn’t taken me to Gary Indiana and shown me the apartment building we call “House of Harm”.
We’ve been exploring abandoned places and playing with cameras for something like 7 or 8 years now so I think it is time we share a blog. I’ve invited him on post his photos and stories which I think you will all enjoy, he is a far better writer than I at any rate. His first post should be up sometime today, make him feel welcome.
Inside the school at last. Well talk about not living up to expectations, there is pretty much nothing here other than the lowest factor of graffiti, black ice and empty room.
The top floor still had some walls standing, it looks like it used to be the dormitory.
Downstairs was nothing special either, another big empty room totally devoid of artistic graffiti; at this point I am seriously missing the high quality Gary graffiti.
Through the whole of the inside, there was only moment that wowed me. It was not due to any deliberate action of the spray paint wielding hooligans either. It was just the convergence of colors on what was otherwise just another drab abandoned stairwell.