Welcome stranger!

This website is a collaboration between The Idiot Photographer, Tabula Rasa, Moribund and Holly.  It was originally created by myself, the Idiot Photographer to share my photography as I thought I was pretty decent for an idiot with a camera.  I’ve come to realize how wrong I was about being pretty decent, though I’ve improved a bit since those first few years.

Some years ago (back in 2008 or so) Tabula Rasa and I discovered a building in Gary Indiana which we affectionately call “The House of Harm“.  Little did we know at the time that this would lead us down the strange path of urban exploring and photography.  Curiosity drove us to poke around the city of Gary a bit more, and from there what began as a bit of a lark soon became a serious hobby for both of us.  I started this blog as The Idiot Photographer because at the beginning I had no real clue how to use a camera, and learned mostly through trial and error supplemented by a few books and online tutorials.  I’ve kept the name since I freely admit that I have been known to do some things that may be considered rather idiotic in pursuit of a photo, and that I still have not attained the level of skill I strive for.   In late 2012 I invited Tabula Rasa to join me on the blog, as we drive each other to improve, learn new techniques and go the extra distance.

In February of 2014 Tabula Rasa and I met Holly, who flew out to Detroit from Canada to meet us and explore the ruins of the Packard factory.  She proved to be such a fun and wonderful person we invited her to join us here to share the experiences of Canadian rural exploring.

Moribund joined us both in real life and on the blog this summer.

While together Tabula Rasa and I spend many long hours stomping through dusty, moldy, decaying buildings while taking photos neither of us limit ourselves to just urban decay as a subject matter, though it is a favorite.  Here you will find landscapes from Tabula Rasa, as well as animal portraits from myself.  Sometimes we stray even from these subjects, every photo is a learning experience.

Why we explore.

We you to share in our travels and experiences as we explore everything from urban abandonments to the local zoo and occasionally (from Tabula Rasa) views from outside the borders of our country.  Comments are always welcome, as are honest critiques of our work.

-The Idiot Photographer


*updated 9.28.2014



In the spring of 2013 I teamed up with fellow blogger and researcher extraordinaire Sometimes Interesting to bring the story of Gary  more fully to light.  S.I. did months and months of painstaking research and what started as a single article on the city of Gary eventually blossomed into a month of individual, building by building tales.  While the over all story of each of building echos the same woeful story of white flight and urban decline the city has suffered since the 1960’s, each building, like every person, has a unique story to tell.

Links, for the interested:

St. Mary Mercy Hospital

Horace Mann High School

Ambassador Arms Apartments

Gary-Aldering Settlement House  (Gary’s most forgotten building)

Palace Theater

City United Methodist Church

Emerson School

Sheraton Hotel

Mahencha Apartments (a.k.a. The House of Harm)


29 responses

  1. lifewith4cats

    hey you, welcome to wordpress. :)

    July 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    • Thanks for the welcome! Love your blog, BTW, lots of good information there.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  2. Yo IP! Pass by my blog today, will you? :)

    September 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

  3. Pingback: Versatile Blogger – The Linking is the Hardest Part | sandylikeabeach

  4. Your photographs are amazing! I had to nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award!


    October 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

  5. Pingback: My 100th post is dedicated to all the people who have Liked me so far « Vankleek Hill Photos

  6. ur pics r absolutely awesome :-D

    February 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

  7. Hey I am new on wordpress. So cool to see you here. I am just going to veterinary college in September. We plan to foster in a few year ourselves, that is if Nelson (the real boss) lets us.

    May 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    • Congratulations on your choice of delving into many years of hard-core learning to help our fellow critters!

      Be forewarned about fostering though, I started with 2 cats of my own and am now up to 37 fosters adopted, 3 failed. The last failed foster was actually adopted by youngest male cat, they love each other so much they USE THE LITTER BOX TOGETHER!

      Good luck with school, fostering and blogging, as well as life in general, I look forward to hearing more from you.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  8. Angela

    Because I refer to myself as the idiot photographer, I was checking the Internet to see if that title was being used. Lo and behold I found your website. I like your photographs! The way I take pics right now is point and shoot in auto mode. I don’t use photoshop (don’t know how). I see what I like, usually architecture, animals and scenery, and I take the shot. I will be following your blog. And I will just have to come up with another title! Lol

    January 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    • Thank you for the compliment, glad you enjoy my work. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect title for yourself. Now get out of auto mode, start experimenting and have some fun!
      I look forward to seeing your work soon.

      January 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm

  9. Fostering kitties. That’s so awesome.

    March 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

  10. Shot in the dark, but I love your photographs so I thought I’d ask – would you be interested in teaming up for a post? I’ll write the article content, you take the shots? Some interesting abandoned place near you or you’ve already shot that has a history? Shoot me an email if you would like to discuss further. Great work! :)

    March 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    • I believe the correct response would be “Hell Yes!”

      March 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      • Vid Ange

        And that’s how history is made 8-)

        June 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      • Ha, revisiting this just now…. Glad i asked! :D

        April 15, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      • As am I! :D

        April 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm

  11. Hi there, great photos. I run a blog where we feature a different photographer everyday and would love to feature you. Take a look at the site and let me know if you’re interested- Thanks!

    July 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • I’ve been considering your request but am suffering some confusion. Are you interested in my work or Tabula Rasa’s, also, which aspect? Urban decay is our mutual theme but Tabula Rasa has done some fantastic landscapes (which seems to be a common theme on your blog.) Let us know what you’re looking for.

      August 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

  12. Dave

    Awesome work! Very striking images. Love it.

    You might enjoy the video below of an abandoned school in Western New York.

    September 9, 2013 at 8:53 am

  13. love your hdr work! such art you make out of urban decay!

    April 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    • Thanks, We’ve both been working hard to improve our HDR skills.

      April 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm

  14. Thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

    October 27, 2014 at 8:11 am

  15. Oh my god! Your work is amazing!! I’m a fan!! Do you stay in Chicago? We should get together sometimes. I myself, am a photographer who wants to explore the unknown (but not alone). Let’s keep In touch…

    Instagram: @L_MariePhotos
    Email: lisa.newton90@ymail.com

    January 27, 2015 at 11:14 pm

  16. Lisa-Marie Newton of Lisa-Marie Photography

    Hey! Awesome work! I’ve been following you work for the longest and it has inspired me to take the leap and actually go into some of these places instead of walk around them.

    I live an hour away from Gary and plan on doing a drive through today to check the locations out. I’m sure you go with a group on your explorations. Would it be too much for me to ask you if I could tag along (sooner than later?). I’ve always wanted to explore but don’t have a group to go with.

    Keep up the great work!

    March 25, 2015 at 4:34 am

    • Three out of the four of us live within driving distance of Gary, so we could meet up. Let us know when you’re thinking of going!

      March 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

  17. Fascinating! Looking forward to exploration. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in and ready to play)

    March 28, 2015 at 4:28 am

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