Why am I so captivated by buildings that lay in ruin? I don’t have a concrete answer, I can’t make statements to appease anyone…I can only tell you what I feel about these abandoned places that I have visited and captured through my lens.
I got my start in photography while grieving. I felt like I was carrying a graveside monument on my heart, I felt dead inside and I had shed so many tears and had so many moments of complete and sheer anguish that I couldn’t relate to anything but the dead, the forgotten, the abused and the abandoned.
I turned to my art at that time and decided that I was going to make a canvas –I just needed a picture of an actual graveside monument to help me depict my sadness. With camera in hand, I made my way into a beautiful cemetery on a bitter and cold January day. If I close my eyes I can hear the crunching of the grass below me as my tennis shoes crushed the ice that blanketed the Earth. I was alone in that large cemetery, one that went on and on –as far as the eye could see. I was drawn to one monument and then another and another. Many of them sat there for nearly a hundred years and longer. I imagined how beautiful they must have been 70-80-90-100 plus years ago. But now they were broken, faded, worn, and tattered…and to me they were still beautiful. I put the viewfinder to my right eye and began snapping away. I would pause and put the camera down from time to time to catch my breath and cry, but it was a different kind of crying –it was a healing sob.
I soon started sharing my images with loved ones and they were quite amazed. I had dabbled in photography in the past, but not to this extent. In fact, I don’t think I have a knack for photography but through my despair I harnessed something that not only moved me, but it moved others. And when I step foot in a cemetery or a rundown building, I’m able to “go there” –to that place where I’m still searching for tranquility, not always for myself but sometimes for others. Some have described a lot of my images as “haunting”. I can see why they would portray my art in that manner. But to me they are solace, they are quietude, and they are a glimpse of hope in a place where unyielding objects have sanctioned the darkness against their own will.
Who knew that I could inspire others when all I was trying to accomplish was peace within me? I have not and probably will not share all of the intimate details of why I photograph the things I photograph…the headstones, the monuments, the dilapidated buildings and homes. Rest assured that my photos speak for themselves.
With all that said, here are some images I captured over Christmas of an abandoned high school auditorium in Premont, Texas. Row after row of unoccupied seats and boisterous objects…forgotten by so many, but center stage through these eyes.