Finding sanguinity in America’s abandoned places

Wilkerson's abandoned store, Newkirk, NM, Route 66 USA. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

Newkirk, New Mexico

Since discovering it last year, I’ve really been enjoying the blog of Leanne Cole, a fellow photographer who lives in Australia. A while ago, she began a series of posts, “Influencing Me”, about the artists who inspire her, and this has been great fun to read—it gives us insight into her work, which of course causes others to reflect upon their own.

Leanne’s series came around the same time I got to sit and listen to not one, but two people contemptuously deride me and my work as not just “living in the past” but actually being “stuck” there (you can tell, what with my cameras, computer, smartphone, mild TCM addiction and deep affection for the Lightning Bug app I’m pretty sure I’d never sleep again without). I also got into a conversation with someone about my liking to shoot abandoned places.

Leaving aside the painful mental dissonance we’re all bound to experience considering my photographing abandoned, crumbling buildings as they are while simultaneously living in the day when said things were new (perhaps I know The Doctor after all, but I’ll never tell), I once again felt the urge to try and explain why I shoot what I shoot and my mindset going into each and every photography journey (which, as I’ll bet Leanne can tell you, is more difficult than it sounds at the first). This topic of shooting forsaken places seemed like a decent place to begin. Continue reading