The Influence of Abandoned America
Abandoned America is one of my earliest, and strongest photography influences. When I first discovered the site online I had a huge fascination with the idea of abandoned exploration. When I was young there was an abandoned home at the end of my street. It sat vacant with the front door open for a very long time, and one day I went in only to discover there had been a fire in the kitchen stove. They moved their possessions out, someone left the door open, and that was that. A few years later the home was demolished, four large modern homes built in it’s place. It seemed to me there was a story there, and since I’ve been endlessly curious about the history behind vacant properties, how they ended up that way, and why? In the days before social media I stumbled upon sites like Opacity, and Abandoned America. What struck me was the quality of the photography and the use of natural light. One day someone suggested I go to one of the photography workshops at a local cemetery, Mount Moriah, then it was still a very abandoned and property. I was nervous, and extremely excited to get to meet someone I’ve followed for so long. As it turns out, he taught me about meter bracketing in the dark on an unfamiliar camera, and we talked for a great deal about the state of abandonment, architecture, photography and exploration at the end of the night. That conversation has stuck with me, and inspired me to put together a series of my own photographs of my abandoned high school before they tore it down. I have since been exploring Philadelphia, maybe not “abandoned” but in search of the architectural nuances of an era that was before us. I have set out to explore the history of the old and historically rich region I live in, especially before it fades away. I have focused my photographic career on low light photography, which I have been endlessly fascinated with since my visit to the workshop. I also think a lot about preservation, and believe strongly that we should reuse and rebuild every structure we have constructed to the best of our abilities. Preservation has become a strong part of who I am. I adore Abandoned America.