Haunted? Probably not. However, there is something irresistible about entering an abandoned building. Who inhabited it? What did they do? How many people have passed through? The questions can go on. Answers are elusive yet the environment is rife with traces of the past. Often these places also show the marks of others who have visited before you: vandalism like broken glass or graffiti, for example. When you go into a deserted house there is a chance you will discover collapsing floors or roofs.
Relics of architecture of times past such as fairgrounds, German bunkers, crashed airplane sites, grain elevators, factories, and other uninhabited architectural spaces are, I find, intensely beautiful. I feel a strong urge to explore them and thus truly gravitate toward them like a magnet. Somehow, I belong in these frozen places. Below are photographs of one small, neglected and no longer inhabited house in Rockport, Maine.
The photos were taken with my iPhone (using the Hipstamatic software) or with my Olympus OMD-EM5, on a tripod. The Hipstamatic software satisfies our general. tangible, nostalgic longings (why else develop such an app for the iPhone?); through various “lenses” and “film” you can produce different black and white contrasts, photographs that mimic Polaroid shots, tintypes, and other analogue-like photography. The photographs taken with my Olympus micro-four-thirds camera were lightly processed to convert colour into black and white – as I wanted them to look.
I chose black and white because it lends itself to high contrast but may also be worked so that images are softer and more subtle. With colour removed, lines, shapes and light take on a more important role. Certain details in a colour image may go unnoticed or become too busy; black and white can remove these distractions. Black and white was appropriate for transmitting the nature of this place – the extraordinary within the ordinary. It is more abstract and “symbolic” and takes you to another place and time. And, for the first time, I see my work differently when it is not in colour.