One of my favorite places to take picture is an abandon state school in my hometown (state school is a humane term for insane asylum). Rumors have been more or less confirmed that this place was shut down in the 80’s for suspicious detainee deaths. Since its closed this building has been abandoned. Its eerie decay and old style architecture sparks my interest and inspiration. I am incredibly blessed to have willing participants for these shoots, and such great backdrops minutes away from my home. I have done several shoots at this site, so here’s a throwback to the first time I discovered it last summer (back when Annie still had her pixie). It is for sure on of the sites I will miss now that I have relocated.
Thanks Curtis and Annie for being my faithful companions and putting up with so many photo shoots. Thanks for dressing nice and working with me! I love you all. Look out for some amazing shoots this year in my new location of Philadelphia! Many photo shoots to come!
In loo of the extremely raining days I haven’t been able to take many style pics.
So here is a series of photographic work I did for my photo final along with the artist statement for the project:
“These Decisions we face may
turn us into either saints or
monsters, but it has to be
worth more than
becoming nothing at all”
This excerpt from a poem by Mary Kate Teske has fueled my current photographic work. My work derives from an exhale of intense emotion as I face a major decision head on and examine its consequences in my personal life.
The location of my photographs is the abandoned New York State Custodial Asylum for the Feeble-Minded. This institution was opened in 1878 for “feeble-minded” children. The maximum capacity was 853 inmates, and the waiting list was usually extensive. In the early 20th century the institution changed to only accepting women of childbearing age, in order to prevent them from multiplying their kind. This institution isolated and contained people of “feeble mind” or a person unable to make intelligent decisions or judgments. These people were deemed insane, or in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction. Many of the detainees died within these walls, and were buried in unmarked graves. The institution closed in the late 21st century due to cruel treatment and suspicious detainee deaths.
The man I photographed finds himself outside this asylum. The eerie beauty of the building has allured him. The man is wrestling with a decision, one that has brought out the monster found within him. He empathizes with the people once detained here because he too finds himself face to face with his inner demons and they are increasingly hard to bear. It is outside of this building that he finds the solitude to wrestle the monster he has become.
My photographs are fabricated moments rather than reality observations. The subject matter is manipulated and staged; the photographs altered in postproduction to heighten the ambiguity of the subject. Through the exploration of depth perception and contrast the light bounces on and off the subject hiding him in the shadows of his own decisions. My work is a fine art photographic exploration of the shadows our decisions cast and how those shadows manipulate the spaces around us.
Thanks to Curtis for being the perfect model for this project. You rock, I love you. Check out more of Curtis on his Instagram
Let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it as much as I love shooting it.