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.
I recently revisited Richmond, Virginia to shoot an office space on behalf of one of my clients, the Mohawk Group.
You may remember my last visit to Richmond included tripping through the old Interbake Cookie Factory. Good thing too, because as the economy recovers, a flood of these dilapidated buildings that have been sitting abandoned for years on end are now being renovated or replaced. After many years on hold, Interbake is being converted to a mixed-use development. So anyone familiar with my blog pretty much knows my M.O. is to move on and find more urban or rural locations before they gets gentrified.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have WORK to do in Virginia…
…but got to fit in a bit of play beforehand. I can’t resist stuff like this. As you can tell from the first image, these pictures were captured at the old Fulton Gas Works plant.
All Ye Who Tresspass (2013)
Out of the Office (2013)
I also discovered another unused manufacturing building, let’s say in a five-mile radius of Gas Works. Can’t tell you where it is, but if you can figure it out on your own, kudos.
Took a sidetrip to investigate Danville, Virginia on the way back to North Carolina. Interesting place, most of the abandoned places and cool signage have been demolished over the last several years, but there’s an huge facility I’m attempting to contact the building owners to gain access to. Relatively sleepy, depressed town but there’s been some tobacco complexes-turned-to-condos along the riverfront.
If you read any portion of Part 2, you can imagine what happened the morning I was going to head out to Richmond, Virginia. That’s right – phone calls wiped out my entire morning.
I was turned on by a fellow photographer/urban explorer to several sites in Richmond, but because of my limited time was only able to visit one site, the Interbake Cookie Factory. Similar to buildings like the gone Glidden Paint Factory in Atlanta, I thought this complex was slated to be demolished, but may turn into condos or apartments. Who knows – either way, a dilapidated building that will no longer remain in its current state is pretty much an invitation to go inside, right?
Of course it is, Sterling – of course it is.
After granting myself free permission to become temporarily struck by selective illiteracy and scouting the immediate surroundings and pedestrian patterns, I pinpointed a couple entry points to the building. I had two hours before dusk and wasn’t going to risk staying later, especially since I was traveling solo and was the only person in the whole place. I managed to quickly scope all six stories of the factory and select where I wanted to focus on, then returned to my car to grab my photography equipment.
By the way, if I may offer a little advice about visiting places like this in cities you’re unfamiliar with – a) go during a weekday – even better a school day – and even better than that, early in the scholastic year and b) observe the site and the surrounding area completely; I typically take anywhere between 15-30 minutes before grabbing my camera equipment, c) don’t park your car in front of the place and d) go with another person (Okay, okay – so I often skip D).
Abandoned Hope (2012)
September 12, 2012 6:41pm (2012)
Home Brew Loves Cookies (2012)
After this great find it’s safe to say that I’ll be returning to Richmond again sometime to follow up on further advice about other nifty abandoned buildings in the city. I left at sunset then hopped on over to Church Hill to capture dusk over the city.
Then I went home, completely exhausted. The entire trip was certainly nowhere near relaxing and I spent half the time I wanted to photograph for fun, but did my best to make the most of a limited situation. Was definitely worth it!
I recently visited my home state of New Jersey, pausing for a few stops along the way and back in a 1500 mile round trip. I was turned onto a renovated gas station in Elmer, NJ by another photographer and decided to take a side trip on the way to my parents’ house.
Elevating over downtown Elmer is a large rusted tower. Just like my entire trip to Jersey, it was overcast and raining that day. I’m not sure why my black and white photography has taken such a moody turn over the past couple years – and perhaps it’s because I have to be so colorful professionally – but the weather fit my evolving development style.
I also found the renovated Texaco, which was pretty neat. You can tell the owner took a lot of time restoring this place.
There’s even an outhouse!
The state routes between southern and central Jersey led me to some rural finds. Yes, there’s a real reason we’re called the Garden State.
Rusticated II (2012)
Stella Farms (2012)
After visiting my family, I hightailed it to Philly. Of course to do that, you must exit through Camden, which is often considered the most dangerous city in the United States.
There’s an abandoned building near the tracks that I stumbled upon in 2003 when I was teaching myself how to shoot a camera. Makes sense to stop, right?
Yup yet another blog! I stumbled upon the remnants of the old Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, during work travel. I typically try to take a little time to myself on my birthday but had to work that day – including traveling through this area. So as a birthday present to myself, I shot photography for fun that afternoon.
I know – I’m weird.
It was a dreary and gloomy afternoon, which was fitting in portraying this site. Stonewall Jackson was the first juvenile detention center in North Carolina, built in 1909. If you visit the Wikipedia page I linked above, you’ll see this reformatory has quite a history to it – much of it pretty horrifying. A quick Google search can fill you in on some of the school’s infamous reputation.
Today, these dilapidated, uninhabited buildings remain as physical reminders of what juvenile “reform” was like in much of the 20th century. There is a modern facility that serves as the current detention center that lies immediately beyond this abandoned campus. Before it is a series of structures fenced off against the public – I’m unsure how many buildings are being used for storage, if at all. At the entrance of the campus are a row of structures that remain unobstructed by fences. Though there are warning signs, locked doors, and boarded door and window openings, it’s clear people have gone in and out of these buildings at will. Certainly, nobody bothered me as I walked around with my photography equipment (there’s a police station right across the street).
So let’s get started, shall we?
Stonewall Jackson (2012)
I found the facade of Daughters Cottage was the most captivating of them all. There’s something about the decaying signage and front porch that spoke to the entire campus setting.
Daughters Cottage (2012)
So that’s how I spent part of my birthday. There are so many stories these buildings possess that they’ll be unable to yield, but still manage to convey by their mere existence. Those who have been watching me over the years have seen my black and white gradually turn moodier and this seems to fit my evolving B&W photographic style. As you can tell from the blog title, this was just Part 1. That’s right – Part 2 will take you inside.
Not much to say here, we were there for about 2 1/2 hours. Not only do I rarely shoot for fun anymore, but I also rarely shoot with shallow depth of field or wide open, so I pretty much just did that the entire time. It was a nice little break.
Woo! Three days in St. Louis was fun. Got to see several friends while in town, eat at Pappy’s steakhouse, down three custards at Ted Drewes, satisfy my White Castle craving, get off some urban exploration and attend my buddy Jim’s wedding.
Who the heck is Jim?
Alright. For those of you who don’t know, there’s an arch thing in town. I took a few obligatory shots.
Jim turned me on to an area immediately south of the arch – there’s a long wall tattooed with graffiti down the entire riverside. Adjacent to some sort of industrial plant (water facility? not sure), it’s a very popular wall and stretches a good mile or so. During the weekend it’s full of souped-up automobiles, models, graffiti artists, and photogs.
Return of the (2011)
I’m unsure where this was. I think it’s near the Anheuser-Busch plant.
This is back south of the arch again. FUN going through this entire area, I could easily spend a week or so exploring all of the buildings there.
Now you DO have to be extremely careful in buildings like this. Lead-based paint is the least of your problems and I certainly wouldn’t recommend exploring during the middle of the night.
I mean…there could be holes.
The other staircase on the opposite side of the building was too risky to take, and this had its structural integrity.
This is the view from the roof. The roof was the one I most careful on – though it’s still intact, there’s so much water standing up there, it’s a matter of time before it fails.
The Day After (2011)
Lastly, Mattie (Jim’s wife), one of her photographer friends, and I went to a sculpture park. I wasn’t that impressed with what was there, but I never claimed to be in tune with art.