Benevolent Society No. 11 . Forgotten Tennessee

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine had come into my part time job at the gym. While shooting the breeze my friend Mathew mentioned that he and his wife had stumbled upon and old and clearly forgotten cemetery. He gave me an idea of it’s whereabouts and a name. I went to work using Google searching for Benelovent Cemetery. Benev 93-Edit copy

My internet search was short and lead me to Benevolent Society No. 11 . Was a society and resting place for African Americans in Murfreesboro, TN. From what research I did I learned that the land for the Society was purchased in 1897 and has around 650 plots  of laborers, Doctors, and Veterans from World War 1 and the Spanish American War.

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Some of the members of the society were

  • Berry Seward was the first African American electrician in Murfreesboro.
    George C. Harden was a medical doctor and graduate of Meharry Medical College.
  • Dr. John McClellan, a medical doctor. He graduated from Meharry in 1880 and worked his entire career in Murfreesboro.
  • Dave Ransom was a railroad laborer and worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Rail Road

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Beyond that I did not learn much else other than in 1931 the Society’s property changed hands. I wish I could tell you more about what happened to the Society and the cemetery and likely I will do more research into it. For now though I guess I will just post the photos I took today. Sadly this is what happens when we forget the past and who the past was. This cemetery is a sad example of why my photography is titled Forgotten Tennessee.

Below are my sources for information. Please visit them. If you the reader have more info motion please feel free to leave your remarks and or message me.

Shout out to Justin Stokes for coming along on this shoot.

Sources of info




“This is my body, This is my blood, Happy are they who come to my supper”. – Pinhead

One of my favorite Horror movie concepts has been Hellraiser. If there is a series of movies I’d like to see redone it would be Hellraiser. Perhaps with a much darker overtone? In many ways I found Hostel to be more disturbing than Hellraiser. But regardless I can not help but to do homages to the movies. Below are some light studies I recently shot. I hope you enjoy them. By the way I am selling prints for around $40.00 If you are interested let me know by contacting me at





I hoped you enjoyed this….

Back into Oils

Recently I’ve been working on a piece for a client, the subject was to do a turn of the century poster in the style of Kellar, Thurston and Carter, who were magicians of that era. My client however wanted the piece to incorporate Baron Kriminel a Jamaican Voodoo God. This was going to be fun to say the least. Originally I did my piece as a black and white piece in ink. But the more I worked on it I decided that color was needed. However I did not want to use water color, or gauche. Oils. Oils were the medium I settled on. I’d worked with oils in quite a few years. So far the piece is going well. I’m liking it. I can not wait to start posting progress photos.

Why I shoot the remains of yesterday.


Stairways leading to nowhere have always fascinated me. I look and can not help but wonder to what they led to? A house? A mansion? Something industrial? Who knows. But getting out of the car I’m in they were the first thing to catch my attention.

Crossing the street alongside fellow Photographer Jay Farrell we take a look at what we are fairly sure is an abandoned factory or warehouse. We begin to walk alongside the building’s lot and follow it’s barbwires fence looking for a way in. Finally after a bit of hunting we find our way in.


Squeezing in-between the fence posts is not fun but it’s worth the tetanus risk. Once in we fan out and being to shoot. I’ve had people ask me over and over

“Why. Why do you shoot these places”?

Here is my answer.


Every location I shoot speaks a thousand mysteries to me. I can not write them all down. My hope is that you the viewer make up your own stories from what you see. Every time I finish a shoot I want you, YOU to ask what I ask “What happened here”? “Who lived or worked here? What happened to them”? The door that has been riddled with a shotgun blast. The stairwell hidden in a second floor closet. Stains that run down the wall and so much more.



Another thing that draws my eye and beckons me forward are darkened doorways, I can not say no to going through them.



To not go through the doorway, to not explore and document, to not turn my imagination loose; that in my mind would be a crime.


Just look at the photo above. How can you not wonder what is under all that mess? How long has it built up and what is on the other side that door in the wall? Hell! How do I get over to it?


I follow Jay down to the courtyard we’ve found. Perhaps once it was covered but now it is open to the sky. We geek out at the size of a boiler we’ve come across. Damn! Hist look at it! It looks like something out of Victorian story! And it’s running. It’s running! Ohhh cool! Of course that means this place is not abandoned.


We explore a few shallow cave like enclosures but they lead to large steel doors. We can open the doors an inch or so. Doing so confirms that the place is indeed still in use. We can not see much but we can see chains keeping the doors shut (creepy) and weak electric lights.


It is with this discovery Jay and I take our leave. If we could step through the chained doors we likely would. The weak light within does not reveal much and that is what is to me so tempting. As I said earlier. These places they generate so many possibilities and my mind does not stop wonder “What”.


Only the shell remained


On Dec 11th 2016 the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Nashville caught fire not once but twice. The first time it caught fire the Fire Dept put out the flames but later that night it caught fire again, this time there was no saving the structure. Sadly all that remains now is the shell, and a bit of the interior which is soggy, burnt  and awaiting the wrecking ball?

Today as I drove by the sad remains I noticed that the fence that had surrounded the grounds had blown over. My trip to East Nashville was to go and shoot abandoned properties in Nashville alongside fellow Photographer Jay Farrell. While we usually seek harder to find buildings, I could not pass this by nor could Jay. burnt_01

Grabbing our cameras we crossed over into the previously closed off area and began to do what we enjoy doing. The documentation of an abandoned bit of Tennessee. Now I do have to caution you the reader. Shooting these sites is not for the sane. Shooting these structures from the outside is fine but the real action is inside.



Is this safe? Hell no! Is it clean? Once again, hell no. All I can say is that one must throw caution to the wind, take a breath and cross into the carcass of yesterday. Do not wear anything you’d regret ruining, and make sure your Tetanus shots are up to date. Oh and maybe text someone with a general idea of where you are in case you get trapped inside. I am serious about that.


Stepping over the threshold of the lower floor I take a second to look around and get an idea of what is what. Luckily the floor while damp and spongy is not actually flooded. burnt_011

Before I begin to walk around the wreckage I take another second to carefully plot out my course. I make sure to look for pitfalls, boards with nails sticking out, shards of glass and other potential hazards to my feet and to the rest of me should I fall.


The fire here was so hot that everything is charred! Amazing anything is standing


especially the floor above me! Look at that! It looks like the footage of ruins seen in war zones.


I can not imagine the heat or the dedication of the men and women who fought this fire not just once but both times. Nor can I imagine the sense of loss by those who over the years have attended this church. It must have been crushing.







Towards the back of the church I come across more charred remains some that really catch my eye and need to be documented. burnt_030

There is something peaceful and sad about this bowl. Something amazing about it as well. It’s glass. It should have broken or shattered. If not from the conflagration than at least from the powerful jets of water that were used to extinguish the flames. But no, it stands more of less in pristine condition.


Above I spy the sweeping backend of a piano. I wish there were a means to get up there and photograph it.


Finally I feel it’s time to exit what’s left of the church’s interior.



I walk around the exterior and meet up with Jay. We shoot a few remaining exterior images and call it a day, or at least for this site.






I truly hope you enjoyed this journey through a bit of Forgotten Tennessee. If you decide to try doing some documenting yourself please remember to be careful, you could end up as part of the remains you’re exploring.





New Year’s Resolutions

PrintNew Year’s resolutions. What are yours? Is there a chance you’ll keep them? Good luck, I hope you do. For myself? See the following.

Physically I plan to finally get my weight down to 275 lbs. When I started my journey to a better body I started @ 360lbs wearing 4 & 5x shirts. That was 7 months in to 2013. Now it’s 2016 and I weigh between 294 and 306lbs. I wear 2x t-shirts for the first time since high school. Wonderful progress indeed but 275lbs is the next goal and then after that 250lbs. I believe this is possible. It would mean a chance of lowering my Blood sugar number down to a 5 and hey that may mean I can be taken off Diabetic Meds.

Professionally my goals are to come out of this semi self imposed exile. To get my work out to galleries and agencies. Not just the photography but the design & illustration stuff too. My goal is to start meeting up with those of similar mindset and goals. At one point my name was out there and was recognized. Time to make that happen again.

Personally. I’ve not even tried to date someone in quite sometime. This is was due to  a low physical self esteem and to my previous preference in mates. From here on if certain criteria are not there then neither am I. I will not pursue if I can not see an equal effort from someone I am interested in. Happiness is not something that can be achieved by being with the wrong person(s).

So there are my resolutions so far. Good luck to us all in achieving and keeping them.