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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

.....was.....

I have been mulling this over for a long time.
Photos of abandoned structures.
I know it is not a new idea, but I cannot stop thinking about it.
I am not a photographer, but I do like taking pictures on occasion.  I began taking pictures of abandoned structures a year or so ago.  The idea came to me when we were on our way to Trout Lake in Upstate New York in July 2013.  We were driving for a few hours when I saw a sign.  It was on a tall rusty post, about 15 feet or more in the air.  The sign was in rough shape and said "Diner".  There was nothing around it ~ no structure that used to be a diner.  Just a cement slab with weeds and bushes growing through it.  But the sign remained.
The structures themselves are not hard to find at all, but the photography is presenting a problem.  I will not trespass, so I am snapping from the road.  And the Bird Man will not pull over when we drive.  He will slow down when there is no one behind us, but that is it.  I have to re-examine this situation.

I meant to start these posts September 2013, but I didn't have enough photos at that time.  I still don't.  I have a lot of blur and streaks and partials with the Bird Man's nose in the photo.  But I decided not to wait anymore.  Maybe once I start putting it up here, the photos will be easier to come by.  Maybe not.  But not starting something I want to start is getting old, as am I.  I tend to wait for the perfect time to start something.  THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME.  Ever.  There is only the desire and the now.

This has become such an agonizing-long-time-talking-about-it process that my girls now yell every 10 minutes from the back seat, "ABANDONED STRUCTURE!!!"  They once sent me into the deli to get hoagies and the three of them took my camera and took pictures of abandoned lawn chairs, mailboxes, weeds, house window, deli sign, styrofoam coffee cup, crooked street sign, and of course one of themselves.  They mock me so.....

When the photos are posted,  I would love to hear from you...what story do you think accompanies the structure?  What went on with it when it was full of life and newness?  What caused its demise?
What do you see when you look at it?  Stories.  Everything has a story.  It will be fun to make up a few of our own.

And now....was....


Route 23
Sussex County
New Jersey




16 comments:

windrock studio said...

Oh, I'm so glad you started but it is addictive, for sure. We've always done this, Larry especially in B&W and the most awesome images we got were our few years down South. There is no problem with stopping, turning around and sometimes a tiny bit of trepassing. Your building here makes me think it was a skating rink at one time, depending on where in town it was, and the stories could go on endlessly! Keep doing this, great idea!

Maryanne said...

My guess is a restaurant. Looks like old abandon restaurants in South Jersey. Sometimes you just have to quiet the muse and go for it! This sounds like a great project!

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Christine,
I think you have a great project going. Old buildings and abandoned properties are very interesting in the aspect of what kind of business it was and the type of people that frequented the business, or who lived in the house or building. Here in Alabama out in the country there are a lot of old what I call one or two room shacks that are interesting with the weathered wooden walls and tin roofs.
Therese

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

I am sad when I see these (all too common) abandoned/boarded up structures, Christine. To me they are a symptom of our changed society where the bottom line is everything. Perhaps it was a family business that couldn't compete with the big chains? We have lots of these our way (an economically depressed area), but fortunately still a few small businesses are around... the mixed blessing of having less population than required by certain big chains :(

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

P.S. I fantasize structures like this will be the topic of one of those building challenge TV shows.

Shaiha said...

I just love those old abandoned buildings. I have amassed a nice collection of them on Pinterest.

http://www.pinterest.com/shaihadesigns/manmade-abandoned/

kimmykats said...

Laughing about them stealing your camera! Love old buildings...thank goodness God gave me a husband that will stop or turn around....a 10 min trip can take us 2hrs sometimes!

BackstoryBeads said...

What a fun idea, Christine! I'm thinking this could have been one of those grand old mercantiles. Just think of all the homegrown and handmade treasures it would have housed. And all the wonderful cabinets/cupboards/counters that still might be inside! Sad that no one was willing to stand and fight for it, whatever its previous life.

Janet Bocciardi said...

Your Bird Man is just like my Fish Man. No time to pull over and check out something you weren't planning on coming across.

It's sad to see the abandoned buildings, but like a ghost town they're fascinating. I'm imagining your photo is of a Road House that once had a very lively crowd in the evenings - boisterous even - where fights broke out and you sometimes had to be careful going in the front door for fear someone would be coming out rather quickly. Or maybe it was a country western kinda place where folks came to have a steak dinner and then square dance....

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

I have the same thoughts when I see abandoned buildings, a bit of sadness, too. I imagine this building to be a grand old restaurant, with a huge, mahogany bar, mirrored ceilings, huge chandiliers, red velvet booths, and ornate wallpaper. I can smell the pipe tobacco....

AntiquityTravelers said...

oh where to start! Love that the family stole the camera to fill it up while you were off hunting hoagies :D that just makes me giggle.

I have an obsession with photographing things that feel like they have a history to them .... namely falling down barns, old stone buildings where the windows no longer exist, railroad tracks with things growing up in between ... I want to know the history, the people who lived there and when it used to be full of life.

I also love how nature always comes back and takes over. has the last word. it's calming in a way

I'm loving this angle. blog on my friend! keep on posting!

Alicia said...

That's a wonderful idea - I wish I had more photos of places that were and aren't anymore, as a reminder. Sober reminder. My guess would be a restaurant too - it'll be amazing to find a picture of the place before it closed :)
Lovely project!

CraftyHope said...

Oh what a wonderful project! I'm smitten with old, abandoned structures also (it sounds like many of us are). I can't help but imagine what kind of life must have bustled in those places, what stories emerged from there, who may have frequented or lived in that place. I'm looking forward to your series. As for this one. . . It's hard to guess not knowing the area but for some reason I keep seeing it as a gas station/garage/general store sort of place. One of those places out in the country where everyone gathers for some chit chat and a cup of coffee and goes home with a jug of milk and bit of gossip.

Liz E said...

That's a big building. It doesn't even look very old. You have to talk birdy man into stopping once in a while. I think I have the same thing for abandoned buildings - when I was driving to the coast last week I had to stop and take some pictures of a dilapidated little house. Abandoned buildings always make me think of the transience of man. We can build it, but unless we stay and take care of it, back to nature it goes. Looking forward to seeing more!

Skylar Bre'z said...

Oh, I love this! As a veteran roadtripper, I'm always noticing abandoned buildings and signs that lead to nowhere. Or interesting faded signs on buildings.
I think these are great ideas for story prompts. Though, I admit, I think more about how they could be used now, rather than their original use. Like your picture - wouldn't this be a cool art center? Painted lots of bright colors of course!

LisaS said...

-An interesting topic that I must admit sometimes drives me to the point of distraction. I always have to start by attempting to guess the date the building was originally constructed. I am going to guess late 1950's with restoration/modifications added in the 70's. But that is only a pretty wild guess.

;)