Not all of my abandoned houses happen with a road map and hours of driving around in rural Tennessee. Some happen after grabbing a cup of coffee with a buddy. Yesterday Justin Stokes and myself met at a Star bucks and were shooting the breeze. After a bit we decided to hit a local back road in hopes of finding an abandoned house or two. We were driving when I spied what I’d hopped was a good sign.
A drive way with an older looking entrance. The drive was flanked by old and weather beaten brick stands. Traveling down the I saw another positive sign of abandonment. The center of the gravel drive was overgrown. Usually if a property is lived in then this centers strip is often worn down or mown. As we came up to the house at the end of the drive I said “Yep, we have Abandonment”!
The house was overgrown with branches and a riot of overgrown bushes and creepers. So much so that for this trip I decided to nix exterior shots. For now we wanted to explore the innards of this forgotten place. Right off the bat I could see that while the place was indeed abandoned it had not been so for more than say 5 years, happily the place was far enough off the beaten track that it was not heavily visited by squatters or by the homeless. Walking thru the place I noticed a big difference between the state of this house and others I’d been in. This house had been truly forgotten. Upstairs and downstairs rooms and closets still held clothing, towels and the brick a brac of an occupied house. Creepy. When you come across such a place you can not help but wonder why everything is still there? It’s as if the occupants left one day with the intention of coming back but failed to do so.
Below are some of the photos a snapped with my phone. On another day I will take some better shots with my Canon. But for now these will suffice. Enjoy.
My friend Dale and I had an impromptu shoot last night and this gem is what we have to give ya’ll for Saint Patrick’s. Lift a pint for us poor sinners!
Last Wednesday I grabbed my Cannon 1D Mark II, made sure my 17-40mm lens was attached and drove out of town looking for old buildings to photograph. My drive took me East out of Murfreesboro down a sunny two lane highway. I’ve learned over the years that these trips of mine are best taken in the mid morning when traffic is light. Other motorists can easily pass me, especially since I don’t think I got my car above 45.
About 45 mins into my trip I stopped off at a small roadside restaurant to get a feel of the area and gather info. I struck gold. A woman working at the eatery gave me directions to a location where her family had a Diary Barn I could shoot. Off I went.
While I did take a shot or two of the barn, what I found of more interest was an old building who’s porch rook had collapsed. I hopped out and began to shoot.
An hour or so later, I was in my car again and found a small church that was sitting beside a newer church. Once again out came the camera!
I wish I had the words to describe my love of shooting such forgotten bits of Tennessee. But I don’t have those words. I rely on my photos to do so.
The other day I came into the possession of an old lock. The lock is huge, rusty, iron, and huge. It came with a key and it works! Now I’d seen this lock at a friends business and had wanted it for quite sometime. I had and still have several ideas of what I want to use this lock for as the focus of a photoshoot(s) and as a prop. I did a bit of research on the lock where I discovered it’s approximate age, manufacture and it’s sad and cruel past. Most likely this lock was made in 1868. Upon it’s face is the following “Property of Georgia Convict Camp”.
I was intrigued about this to say the least. So I did a it of digging and here is what I found. The lock came from a dark time when the State of Georgia leased it’s convicts out as labor. While some of the convicts were white for the most they were predominantly African American. These Convict Camps were a part of the Jim Crow Laws and the convicts were no more than slaves and the South’s continuance to exploit blacks as free labor which did not end until the 1940’s. To say the least I was and still am more than a sad that a bit of history I’d wanted has such a dark past. Will I keep it? Will I use it? I’ve not decided.
Occasionally I have to step back from what I usually shoot. I do this to recharge the creative batteries and to simply give myself a new direction to explore. On top of what I shoot for J. Winnett Creative I shoot Glam/Boudior for my Grindhouse Photography page and Old forgotten buildings for Forgotten Tennessee both can be found on Facebook.
The mother of a friend of mine owns a business that sells curiosities, furniture and other things from estate sales. Her son Justin has a few of her items at his place. A mysterious vial containing an unknown green liquid is amongst his decor. This is not the first piece I’ve borrowed of his to shoot nor will it be the last. I brought the green vial home and shot it by itself and while I liked the finished piece I felt it needed more so I went on eBay and ordered a vintage syringe from Russia. It was not too old nor too decretive. It would be perfect to shoot alongside the mysterious vial of insidious green fluid.
My goal for shooting these two items together? I wanted to create a Horror themed shoot minus blood, guts, gore or a monster. Not an easy goal to achieve. But I think I did so. I hope you the reader like the results. If needles make you queasy I apologize now.
For the techies. I shot this with a Cannon 1D Mark II. The lighting consisted of
- One hot shoe mounted Ring Flash
- Two cheap $3.00 fake battery powered Votive candles
- Two Construction lights
- One off camera Cannon 420ex Flash
Ok so I’ve been doing this massive painting of Quetzicoatl. It’s gonna take a while to complete it. In the mean time I’m going to try and do some portraits using watercolors & gouache. Will these be realistic? Or will they be a bit more fantasy? Not sure. But it should be an interesting trip.
Once upon a time I did a 3 part painting. The paintings were to document the slow decent of a nameless murderer into the depths of madness. I wanted a feel to this that would reflect a journal or diary who’s author had decided that writing was not adequate to tell his story. Instead he opted to use a mixture of scribble and doodles. These doodles evolved and took over, much like the voices in the author’s head.
At the time I did these paintings I’d been reading a lot of Stephen King. King had a phrase that I figured would work well with my paintings, the phrase was Dead Lights. King also had a book out called Insomnia. In Insomnia the hero could see a person’s soul connected to their bodies via a thread of light. Perfect! I wanted my mad journalist to show the souls of those whom he’d harvested. The dead lights and Soul Strings would work perfectly! Below is the first evolved entry into what my mad author would call the Murder Diary.
We see our hatchet wielding psycho sitting in an alley, his identity is not really his own any longer. Rather his should is just another Dead Light looking to be released but held in place by life.
Diary Entry 1.
Diary Entry 2.
Here we see the subject expressing his fear of his psychiatrist and perhaps a fear of the entire study of the human condition. His doctor is portrayed as a clinical monster who is actually a bit more frightening than the leather clad BDSM practitioner melded to the to it’s body. In the background we see a grasping Soul String reaching out to grab hold of the Doctor’s soul? Or is is it repelled by a soullessness? The author undoubtably wishes he could learn more with his trusty ax.
Diary Entry 3.
Clearly we see a total breakdown and embrace of madness by the diary’s author. Our hatchet fiend no longer trying to cling to reality. Instead he has become a raging avatar of death swimming in blood. Who is the figure in the upper corner? Is it perhaps an angel who the author feels might save him? Or is the figure at the bottom his savior? There is obviously a separation of the two, we can wee this via the severed Soul String.
Where does our story go from here? I can’t say, the above entry was the last.