For those who may not have noticed, Sometimes Interesting is talking about the long tragic history of the Sheraton Hotel in Gary. I strongly recommend it, it is the most complete history of this building ever compiled on the internet.
A little background on today’s photo, it is actually from a couple of years ago. Yes, yes, I’m cheating a little. I had this brilliant idea to talk a couple of friends into doing a photo shoot with us and we spent the better part of a Sunday having a hilarious time wandering the top 3 sites for urbex with a pair of drag queens. I have awesome friends. I figure since TR is out of the country I’d post all the photos I meant to post but never got around to in the meantime.
In reviewing my photo collections from the past 5 years I realized that while I take a lot of photos inside of a building, I rarely ever take photos from outside.
As I mentioned in my previous post I am working on a project, and it means I need exterior photos of all the places I go to, full documentation. *sigh* Still, it is good practice and who knows, I may be able to learn something in this exercise.
The City United Methodist church is an imposing building, and if I had bothered to take photos from the outside in previous visits you would know what is so shocking about this view.
Not that long ago, maybe even less than a month, this lot was a grove of trees. There was one giant, probably 80 or 90 years old, that sheltered the walk up. It was surrounded by several younger trees that were probably ranging from about 40 and younger. They are all gone. I’m pretty pissed off about the giant tree in particular, and the grove in general. Why are all the trees gone? Because some 401(c)3 has decided that “god’s house” should be restored. In a city brimming with “god’s houses”.
I can understand if this building was salvageable, but it isn’t. The amount of money that it would take to rescue it from the decades of fire, neglect and vandals boggles my mind. It isn’t even a particularity historic building, just an impressive church that is a tile in the mosaic of Gary history.
But no, they’re going to come in, clear out all the trees and, do what? Shore up the building so it collapses a little slower? Crazy glue the facade back together? Chase all the vandals away? I don’t know and I cannot find any information online regarding any one’s plans for it. I seriously doubt the building will be closed to urban explorers as we are a persistent lot. While my little group has a policy of no breaking and entering, if someone else broke in and left a door or window open, we’re not adverse to taking advantage of that. In the case of this building, the doors are all wide open or gone and there are even holes in the walls (in more than one place) for people to creep through should they feel so inclined.
In the end we do not know what this mystery group has planned for the most iconic urban exploring location in Gary, we’re just going to have to wait and see. Our group visits at least once yearly just to see how things have changed and while we’ve already done a visit this year we are going to keep an eye on the place to see what transpires. In the meantime here are some photos from the years past. I’ll miss be able use the trees as a backdrop for drag queens.
As some may have noticed, the Oscars were last Sunday. I have finally started sorting through my photos from the Oscar party I went to. Normally Oscar parties aren’t my thing, but Robyn and Misty throw the best Oscar Drag party you could imagine.
This year Robyn went as Jessica Rabbit.
I also played around a little bit with deliberate camera motion when the big lights weren’t on, this is the best of the lot but overall it isn’t a technique I like very much.
Getting ready for stage 2 of the shoot, Misty changes outfits and fixes up a little and bemoans the lack of a dressing room.
Danger! Danger Will Robinson!
I’ve finally gotten around to going through my Drag Queens in Gary shoot for the second review. I took so many photos in one day, reviewed them once, dumped the really bad ones and posted the ones I liked on first viewing. After that I’ve been avoiding them like the plague since I pretty much hated everything I took. I could have done better, much better. Tons better.
My only excuse was I had just gotten my DSLR and had no idea how to use it, so while my models and location were just FABULOUS DARLING, my skills were not. Still, on second review (at long last) I find that I don’t hate everything as much as I thought I did.
So brace yourselves for Round Two of the Misadventures of Misty and Ivana!
Location is everything, but next time we hit up this one will be after a few good hard frosts. We had to trudge through the underbrush to access this portion of the old Gary Train Depot and afterwards found ourselves picking unwanted passengers off of each other like a troop of baboons, minus the eating of said unwanted passengers. We’re slightly more civilized monkeys than that, thanks very much.
I think this will be the last of the Gary in Drag photos for the time being. Tomorrow should be a Chicago themed outing, we’re considering a theme of “transit” but we’ll see what actually happens, you just never know what whacky ideas I might dream up.
Did I mention that before? The whole Gary with drag queens as models thing actually came to me in a dream shortly after I attended a drag/Oscar party. The idea tickled my fancy so much I was on the phone with Misty the next morning and from there it kind of snowballed. With any luck next year we will have a fashion designer (albeit one trying to get started) doing outfits for the ladies and in the meantime she is trying to help me get some of these published in a U.K. fashion mag. Seriously? Seriously. I never thought I’d ever publish anything and I still have to finish getting the releases signed by the ladies but there is a teeny tiny, itty bitty chance I may actually sell a photo. I doubt it’ll happen, but it would be way cool if it did. We’ll just have to wait and see.
This shot was actually one of my fellow photographer’s brilliant ideas (thank you Anita!), the mirror was to fix hair and touch up makeup, however with all the light in the midday sun on the roof, it actually worked out rather nicely.
Adios, Gary Indiana, we’ll be seeing you again soon enough!
I need filters. While I got a UV filter with my new camera, the local camera shop was out of polarizing filters for my lens (while they had polarizing filters for about 30 other lenses.) While I love this shot I think it would have turned out a little better if I had one. Oh well. The good news is the ladies are willing to go for a round two, and we already have 2 other locations scouted for August.
While I have shared mostly “serious” shots, we had quite a bit of fun and got silly more than once. While on the roof of the church we noticed a large stack over at the steel mill belching large quantities of flame, and couldn’t resist this shot. Flame On!
The United Methodist Church in Gary is really one of my favorite locations, sadly it is also the favorite location of low budget movies. We were unable to do a lot in the main cathedral and most of the dance school was unavailable due to a movie shoot taking place on the day we were there. They got there first, much to our frustration.
Despite their props taking up most of the cathedral we were able to work with the periphery which included where the windows used to be. How our ladies were able to scramble over the piles of fallen ceiling and up on to the ledge in those heels is beyond me, but kudos to them for doing so!
For the record, when not filled with props for a movie, this is what the cathedral looks like:
Despite wardrobe malfunctions and the missing change of shoes issues, Misty stayed upbeat, positive and a delight to work with through the whole trip. I feel I missed on getting a lot of good shots with her as she was mostly taking taking direction from Jerry, but when I did get something good it was pretty much candid.
This was my first photo shoot with models, and what an experience it was! The ladies were wonderful about taking direction, and suggesting poses and locations. Hopefully next time around I’ll be a little better at communicating myself to them, but this is one shot that came out just as I wanted it to.
Ivana just has a natural way about her, she is totally at ease with the camera ( indeed possibly in love with it) and it shows.
This photo doesn’t really give you much of the dust and decay of Gary, but the point of the trip was the ladies more than anything.
And now I’m off to bed, posting has been delayed this week due to the unavoidably real life and the job that pays the bills.
>Yesterday was more fun than you could shake a stick at. We only managed 3 locations, but put in about 4 hours of shooting and our models were sore and tuckered out at the end. That and it is prime tick season so we were tired of picking the little monsters off of each other (the less glamorous side of this event).
The Methodist Church was our second stop, and as usual we had to share the location with others, the frustrating part was it was a low budget movie crew that had placed props in the main cathedral hall and taken over the stage in the dance hall. There was also a big boobed angel in underwear and her photo crew wandering about and I’m not sure who was more bemused by the other. We saw one lone urban explorer who was more than a little perplexed by the crowd at the church, but ever since the last Freddy movie re-make, it has been an even more popular location.
Still, we managed to survive and I now have scads of photos to go through and edit, so you know what you’ll be seeing here for a bit!