Sometimes you just got plain lucky. I was dropping off a photograph to a gallery and ventured to take a closer look at a boiler plant to an abandoned manufacturing facility that I had passed by many times over the past several years. I’ve previously looked for entry points only to come away disappointed. This time, there was a gargantuan wide open access to the place.
You know given an opportunity as grand as that, I’ve got to take it. I was definitely not disappointed this time.
No graffiti anywhere in the entire plant though I suspect at least a photographer or have previously found their way into the building. You could tell copper thieves had their way as most wiring was gone.
I’m not sure how long the plant has truly been abandoned but the certificate of inspections on the bulletin board were from 1974 and 1981.
These abandoned places are so fascinating because you get to see nature take over unabated. If you’ve ever seen the History Channel’s Life After People, they illustrate what would happen to human infrastructure over time if people (poof) vanished. Birds were flying through the roof trusses, foliage were creeping through the windows, and this potted plant was still alive and thriving. It wasn’t a robust, sprawling growth but seemed to make a purposeful trail along the window, all the way towards the ceiling and out the window where it continued to grow untamed outside the building, intertwining with the trees. Seriously beautiful and humbling.
Green Office (2013)
Take the Wheel (2013)
Get a whiff of that lead-based paint!
I spent three hours and felt rushed as I was unsure how long this luck would last so focused on larger interior scenes rather than smaller objects. If I went back (which I did), I’d choose to hone my focus on found objects (which I totally did). Below was one of the few “up close” images I took during this first visit.
Peeling Away (2013)
The boiler plant is so intact and in good overall shape, it was fun playing with the remaining machinery, ladders, scaffolding, and windows.
Up and Under (2013)
By 5:00 pm, I didn’t want to press my luck too much further so headed back to Raleigh but wanted to return as soon as possible before someone figured out the place was easily accessed.
Whew, it’s been a month since the last blog! Things have been a good busy this spring. Much of April and early May was filled with clouds and rain so much of my time was spent frequently updating weather.com. Needless to say I was very thankful once the drops faded away!
It also marked the beginning of this year’s photography for M/I Homes in Raleigh. These are some of the good people of M/I who sign my checks, donating to Go Red For Women. (See? I can shoot people once in awhile.)
Which got me thinking – can these checks be signed and cashed ala Happy Gilmore? Could M/I get me one of these hugeass checks to deposit at my bank?
So these are takes from the first four models I’ve shot for M/I this year at Madison Glen in Durham, Flowers Plantation in Clayton, Briar Chapel in Chapel Hill, and South Lakes in Fuquay Varina. Enjoy and see you next time around.
Since vacation time will be rare the next couple of years and after all I -do- live in North Carolina, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to see and photograph more of the state. Therefore you’ll start seeing an increased focus on North Carolina, at least in my personal work. This past weekend I took a trip down state highways between Hickory and Greensboro, North Carolina.
Statesville is a goldmine. Do be careful though – there are some rough neighborhoods and the police can be quite inquisitive. That said, shout-outs to the Statesville police department.
Alright, so this is building structure downtown that has been there for as long as I can remember each time I’ve gone through Statesville. Not sure what it is or if it’ll remain that way but I believe the city owns this space. I’d like to get here at a good hour for some decent shots. Would make for a nice model shoot, don’t you think?
This is an empty series of storefront adjacent to that building frame.
Spaces for Rent (2013)
I forgot exactly where these storefronts were, it’s close off of Highway 70. They’re abandoned and slated to demolished. I did venture inside to check it out, but upon inspection deemed it unsafe to peruse through. Glad I get to use that architectural degree for something.
There’s a church building with classroom building component in Statesville that has been shut down for well over a year. Part of the roof caved in, the cost was too much to damage, so the property is up for sale. I’d guess eventually this church will be demolished as the cost may to be too prohibitive for repairs. The owners were gracious enough to allow me to take photos inside. One of the clasrooms drew my eye first. A bit sad to look at, but I really do find such beauty in destruction.
In Recess (2013)
Man, who remembers this video game? BOOMSHAKALAKA!
This is an abandoned textile company, water damage everywhere. I may revisit this spot there’s a lot of neat nooks and crannies, it’s just sometimes when I’m visiting certain places solo I make it a habit not to stay too long.
Stopped by an old auto-repair shop in Cleveland, the winged light structure and how it balanced with the metal building and tree is really what drew me to this one.
Near I-85 in Salibsury they’re doing a lot of road construction. Glad I stumbled upon the worksite on a weekday as I got to see the water towers and buildings slated for demolition (they seem half-torn down already) up close and personal. Not sure what the plans are with these twin water towers, I hope the fact they’re still standing means they might become preserved.
Quitting Day (2013)
I almost titled the above image “These Working Conditions Are Completely Unacceptable” but decided that was way too long. Pretty neat to see this sort of dishevelment in an “open” office!
Right around the bend is the old York Hill Restaurant signage. Would like to revisit this area in better lighting.
That’s it for some good ‘ol-fashioned North Carlina urban exploration. Catch you around the next time I have free time on my hands.
Well, I can safely scratch off “jumbo jet” from the photography bucket list. I was recently hired by Contour Flight to document one of the Boeing 767′s in their fleet before it took off from RDU airport. The next group flying out was the New Jersey Devils hockey team and they wouldn’t let me stowaway for a free trip home. What’s up with that?
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of recently working with RND Architects on a couple of projects in Durham, North Carolina including a parking deck located in downtown near the tobacco district. When initially describing the project to me, one of the things that stood out was a term I’m hearing more often as my client base expands, which is, “This project may be a bit of a challenge.” In the famous words of Barney Stinson, challenge ACCEPTED. Museum, house design, office, parking deck, gas station, whatever – no matter the building type or environmental situation, if you hire me I’ll give it my undivided attention and best effort. It’s all photography, all love.
As it turns out the real obstacle turned out to be the rainy weather – it was overcast and cloudy 5 out of the first 6 days after receiving the assignment. Fortunately the clouds dissipated for just enough favorable days.
I visited Durham often in a brief timespan, therefore became familiar with the timing of the passenger train. The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was kind enough to allow the lead designer and I onto their rooftop to shoot the garage in context of downtown as the train passed by. That was the moment I learned it’s a straight fall down, as DPAC has no roof parapet. The reflective roof membrane is sloped away and runs flush with the fascia, go figure!
I really enjoy working with architects on their projects because architectural photography in and of itself is a design process. Designers have specific items they want to ensure are conveyed and a photographer has the ability to see, select, and reveal the best informative views. Sometimes those two viewpoints align and other occasions you’ll witness situations where architectural photographers and their clients clash, as the architect desires to see their beautiful design and the photographer wants to see their beautiful photograph. In some aspects, it’s similar to the relationship that architects (the design) have with their clients (the building), but the essential difference is you have TWO creative crafts merging together. My responsibility as a photographer is to turn that element into a symbiotic advantage.
I think architectural photographers who have actually cut their teeth practicing architecture tend to be advantageous because we can immediately facilitate trusting collaborative relationships with our clients where it may take our peers a bit more time to bridge that gap. Because we’re visually bilingual and speak an architect’s vernacular, openly and honestly putting everything on the table is more viable. We’re on the same team – they give me their ideas, I put forth mine – and we continue to communicate back and forth in order to produce the best results possible to benefit their business.
In the end, that’s why you hire a photographer in the first place, right?
Wrapped up a recent shoot of the Raleigh Depot for the North Carolina Railroad Company, while their Christmas decorations were still up in the parking lot. Photography required getting up in the air a bit so I shot from the platform of a 26-foot lift. Pretty cool, but doing so at 20 degrees Fahrenheit was a little bit too cool. Thanks to Nick for the reference and Reuben for the assistance!
Woo! First photography of the year! Spare time will be sorely lacking in 2013 and opportunities for personal shooting rare so if able, I’ll do my best to make the most of it. Last weekend I visited the North Carolina States James B. Hunt Jr. library to take a first gander after its grand opening and take photos for fun. Of course, it was Saturday, the place just opened, and NCSU’s basketball team upset the then #1 team in the country, Duke.
It was hellacrowded.
There were a lot of people with cameras inside and outside the building. At that point the decision was made to do a quick survey and return at a later time this spring and summer when the library wasn’t so crowded with visitors. Shot for a couple hours on Saturday then returned the next day for a few minutes.
Okay, here goes, ready?
This is the library. Safe to say there’s nothing like it anywhere else on campus. The building is a technological beast and has all the signs and symptoms of being a highly sustainable piece of modern architecture.
I skipped the opportunity to take interior photos that I’ll attempt to capture later in the year. These are the ones I grabbed – the two-story public study/lounge is easily my favorite spot; it looks like an airport terminal in which a grade school child got to select the furniture.
I can see the conversation now.
“So which piece of furniture do you want to order?”
DESIGNER: “I LIKE ‘EM ALL!”
“You can’t order every furniture design that ever existed.”
DESIGNER: “I WANT IT ALL, BUY IT FOR ME NOW, I’LL BE GOOD FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR! PRETTY PWWEEEEEEEEASE?”
What NCSU really needs to do is treat the library furniture like the zoo. You know how ticket kiosks offer pamphlet guides and posted signs across the zoo describes all the animals you’re seeing? Similarly, the library should have a hand-out and signs posted inside the building describing the piece of furniture, when it was designed, and by who.
Sarcasm aside, don’t get me wrong – the space is fun. People really love spending time here.
As I hinted at earlier, this place is a playground for photographers. Eventually I’d like the time (and space) to have an entire day to really analyze the architecture.
Wrapped up with a few obligatory evening shots.
The next morning it was moody and cloudy so I took the opportunity to mimick the rear elevation shot I captured the evening before.
Finally, I took a picture I’ve been meaning to capture FOREVER – okay more like a decade, but still. One of the buildings on NCSU Centennial campus, near the library, has a sawtooth-pattern brick paved courtyard. I had this image in mind for quite some while and never took the opportunity to do so, but with it being overcast, it worked out splendidly.
That does it for my first trip to the Hunt library. Catch you next time!
I was recently hired by the Mohawk Group in late December to shoot recently installed carpet on the upper level of the UNC R.B. House Undergraduate Library. School was out so I had unrestricted freedom with setting my lights up without interruption. It was certainly an interesting challenge – a balancing act between showcasing the flooring without neglecting its surroundings and illustrating how the product is integrated without having the room and furnishings overshadow the carpet.
Thank you so much to everyone for making 2012 a fruitful, successful year. I’m truly blessed to have the best clients and supporters that I could ever hope for, to get to see, partake, and share everything I’ve been able to. These are my favorite photographic memories of the last year. Again, it’s been a thrilling ride, so thank you and see you in 2013!
So after going to Arkansas, Dallas, Arkansas again, and Memphis, it was time to get back to work (like how I pimped those blogs? You betcha). Wrapped up a house in the Copperleaf community in Cary for home builder J.P. Swain and shoot of the Courtyard apartments in Chapel Hill for Olive Design + Build. Didn’t have control over time of day like I would’ve preferred with Courtyard, so made the most of it with the windows.