The tattered wreck was just a short walk through the woods from Patrick’s old house. If you asked me for directions there, you’d be up a creek, but after my most recent jaunt there, I think I’d be able to lead you over well enough.
It was the first place I had really tried to photograph anything with any sort of thought, back when I manually letterboxed my pictures in Microsoft Paint.
I remember sort of half-leaning through a window lined with broken glass, snapping a picture of the other side of the room – quietly terrified out of my wits that some worker, police officer, someone was going to walk in on us wandering around in there. I was just sort of caught up in what was basically Baby’s First Urban Exploration – drawn in by the allure and mystique of something so wrecked and ruined that I don’t think I was actually too concerned about shooting a picture that was actually in focus.
I want to swat past me on the back of the head for this one, but I get the feeling.
The next time wasn’t much better. I remember coming back and having the ISO on my camera set so high that the noise grain may as well have made my photos shitty impressionist paintings. Those ones didn’t even make it to Instagram.
I ended up coming away with nothing but this wide shot that wasn’t even framed or made black and white properly. It would be a few months until I went back again – October 2016.
I think I had a different mindset going in this time – capture the essence instead of just the building. I think – technical quirks aside – it’s relatively simple to shoot urbex. That’s simple, mind you. Not easy. You just need a place, and a camera, and an eye for good light and angles. The process of injecting your own experience into a picture of that place is a little more complicated. How do you capture that sense of discovery, that sense of creeping adventure – that thing that turns us all into beanie-toting, camera-clutching Indiana Joneses the moment we step into a building that our towns forgot?
I don’t think I’ve got it in its entirety just yet, but I’m so much closer than I was.
I’m just going to have to keep going back.