A couple weekends ago an urbex trip, having met with little success, morphed into a general city exploration. We would wind up in the neighborhood of Pullman on the South Side. A couple posts on this historic enclave will follow; we’ll start with a bit of art in the heart of this community.
Means of escape are provided, should misadventure occur.
Three B&W shots from an abandoned theater in southern Wisconsin, including a monochrome take on a shaft of light previously photographed from a different angle in color.
I spent a long time circling this car, trying to find the right balance of exposure time, ISO, and flashlight angle. Thus, I have a lot of similar shots, and it gets hard to choose the definitive one. The original shot of this car (to be found on this recent post) I’m no longer quite happy with. So, here’s a couple variations.
Like Orpheus of Greek myth, we descend into an underworld, impelled by our own dark longings and melancholy. Unlike the ancient hero, we have no lyre with which to soothe and pacify what we may find in Hell, and we know that our Eurydice will never come home with us. We hope only to capture what we see before the lights of the inferno dim and the gates slam closed behind us once again.
For those not from my fair city, Chicago has one spot, the spot from which everyone shoots photos of the skyline. There are almost always several people snapping away, with entire bridal parties stopping by on a regular basis to get the spectacular backdrop for their wedding photos. If you’ve seen postcards of Chicago or seen B-roll of our skyline, it was often shot here. So you’ll excuse the shot below as nothing new, just a “me too!” perhaps. But if we each have a guilty photography pleasure, the Idiot Photographer’s might be kittens, and mine is certainly cheesecake shots of this city’s skyline. Hopefully my guilty pleasure rubs off on you.
…and for the curious: it’s on Solidarity Drive, the road which runs out to the Adler planetarium.
I tramp through mud, brick piles, moss and mildew, asbestos and goldenrod to take photos of the discarded and forgotten. Yet for some reason the most common search term to find this blog has been “blue people oprah” this past week.
Never stop being so random.
Regards, the idiot photographer.
Hell is commonly depicted as a lake of fire teeming with the damned, the craggy shores being filled with scenes of souls being tortured. While this mise-en-scene may be appealing as a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, the real Hell would never offer its denizens the solace of suffering en masse. In fact, lifetime journeys across bleak unchanging vistas separate any two penitents. Each of the damned suffers among waking nightmares of his own making knowing that he will never unto eternity glimpse another soul.
A veritable army of daemon-slaves has been raised to administer this cursed realm. Each of these, too, is separated from his nearest cohort by unimaginable distances. So it was that these blight-lorries, the likes of which is pictured below, were built and set into motion by the very breath of Lucifer Morningstar himself. Eternally these cross the plains of Hades in mute, leering caravans. They will visit each demon, bearing torture implements as well as tea and a decent selection of books on tape.
October light sweeps through a derelict theater
One thing Cleveland has in spades in empty, abandoned factories that range from spectacular architecture to a hollow, echoing concrete box.
But even in the most seemingly barren of places there is a magical place to be found.
More from Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s westside headquarters.
In many places, all natural light was carefully sealed off. These windows had been painted black, then drywalled over.
A new location was accessed by Moribund and myself last weekend. More on that in future posts. Suffice it to say that (speaking for myself at least) I was left wanting in terms of quality shots. Plans are in order to return in a week’s time to delve deeper and hopefully find more photo fodder. Extremely low light was certainly an obstacle last weekend, though one I think I turned to my advantage with this shot.
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming
You were expecting maybe subtlety?
…being the careless arrangement of information carefully arrayed.
…being what can be had with a stage, an open skylight, and an adequately collapsed upright piano.
I returned from Argentina a couple days ago with the hoped-for memory card bristling with raw material. Though I’ve spent the better part of Saturday evening and Sunday editing, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve also had a chance to reflect, in conversation with the Idiot Photographer, on just what the hell I think I’m doing. So as a preamble to this series of posts on the Argentine capital, I’d like to throw out these musings to my fellow photographers out there to see if anything resonates. But let me start at the beginning.
I’m finding that photography and travel are inextricably linked in my mind. I would not be a very good studio photographer, and I’m not sure what I would do on a trip if I wasn’t shooting. That said, I don’t actually enjoy myself on these trips. While abroad (or in Detroit, Gary or wherever) I’m stressing about all the things you worry about in a foreign country: language barriers, finding my way around, not getting mugged or scammed, etc. I usually travel alone, so perhaps this aspect is more acute for me. I’m also anxious, because I need to get some good shots; if I don’t why I am even there? Of course I’m shooting the touristy stuff (would you go to Paris and not photograph the Eiffel Tower?) but I’m also trying to carve out some relatively fresh artistic ground, while keenly aware how silly it is for a non-native tourist who just drops into a city for five days to believe that he or she has captured anything of the true essence of the city. And so it is that these trips, particularly trips abroad, are mostly nerves, second guessings, and exhaustion.
First world problems, aren’t they?
But the story changes when I get back, and begin sifting through my shots. As I edit these pictures, I become proud of some of them, and in turn, my memory of the experience of those moments changes. Perhaps parenthood might be a good analogy here: parents are always proud of their children, though any given day of parenting, likely consisting of diapers, tantrums or adolescent surliness is unlikely to be rewarding in of itself. The rewards are cumulative, and beyond the quotidian trials of the experience itself. Of course, a parent probably won’t stop loving their child if they grow up to be a criminal. If I, on the other hand, was to return from a trip with nothing to show for it in the way of a good picture, I would have to ask myself, what the hell did I do all that for?
Well, that turned out a bit more like a plea for validation than I would’ve liked, but really, isn’t that kind of the point of a blog, or art in general?
With that out of the way, we can get back to Buenos Aires. Specifically, Ricoleta cemetery, where the rich and famous of Argentina have been interring their dead for nearly 200 years. It was an excuse to just go full Goth and milk these images for all the drama I could. Those with Goth allergies should moderate their visit to this site in the near future. In case of overdose, turn here for an antidote.
A quick P.S.- This shot was an attempt at image stacking. I was told tripods were not allowed in the cemetery, so the above is an attempt to stack in the dark sky from one exposure over the correctly exposed foreground. As the two images didn’t line up perfectly, and I’m still getting the hang of stacking, there’s a couple very obvious blurry spots where I fudged the overlay. I told IP I’d try, and post the results.I’m also a parent, and felt qualified making the parenting analogy. So there.
A collapsed wall reveals a former bedroom. Gary, Indiana.
A mirror, miraculously not yet smashed by vandals, stands propped against the wall in an abandoned apartment building.
A still sea of papers litter a former drafting classroom.
Three overhead projectors (superimposa lumerarium) as seen traversing an icy plateau. The lead has called a momentary halt to the march as it turns to investigate the origin of some suspicious noises. The projectors have much to fear; almost extinct, they are easy prey for many scholastic predators.
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.