Photo: "Greystone Psychiatric Power Plant"

Kirkbride asylums were constructed to be self-sufficient and most campuses contained a dairy and agricultural farm, a post office, recreational facilities, water utilities and a power plant. Greystone Park Psychiatic Hospital was no exception.

This power station generated power for the entire campus, which included the main Kirbride building, which was designed to house 450 patients, nurses quarters and all other ancillary buildings. 

(3 image pano stitched vertically, shot with Canon 17mm TS-E)

"Before & After"

Before (left) and after (right)

I'm a fairly simple gal when it comes to image editing (I blame the documentary photographer in me.)

Everyone has their own style, but I like mild adjustments and prefer to ensure the appearance of my images mostly resembles what I saw in person.  

For the curious, above is a sample image from a dental chair in a hospital in New York, showing the RAW vs the Lightroom edit. 

Photo: "Through the Eyes of a Patient"

Many patients admitted to psychiatric facilities in the late 1800's and early 1900's did not actually need mental health care. Many patients exhibited symptoms of laziness, hysteria, religious enthusiasm or other health conditions, such as menopause, leading doctors to believe the patients were mentally ill.

Once admitted, the patients would be placed in a single or double room, with one or two beds and a single window through which they would gaze upon the world. Most of us can't even begin to imagine how devastatingly lonely that would feel.

Photo: "Not Always Good Memories, But Always Significant"

Female violent ward in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital - Morris Plains, New Jersey

People often ask me what draws me to places like this, but the answer is not always obvious to most. Sure people understand that I find beauty in decaying asylums, factories, ships and houses of worship, because let's be honest, they just don't make them like they used to, but the real reason is much less superficial. 

I do this for me because it makes me feel alive and it's what I want to contribute to this world, images of historic places that we are tearing down way too quickly. But I also do it for the dozens of grandparents, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, cousins and friends who knew someone who was cared for or worked in one of these locations. During the time that these asylums, for example, were in operation, very little was known about mental health. People who were lazy, or practicing religion to frequently were admitted into an asylum. Even women experiencing menopause were deemed insane and placed inside these facilities. 

When I receive an email from a women who never knew her Grandmother because she was admitted to Greystone Park Psychiatric asylum in 1918, or a note from a son about how his father was stationed on the USNS Northern Light many decades ago, I am quickly reminded that this is why I photograph these places. It's not for money, status, likes or +1's, it's for the memories that remain inside these walls, the stories eagerly hoping to come back to life. 

Photo: "Launch Silo No.3"

 
 

Looking across into the Launch Silo No.3 of the Beale 851-C Titan I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Base in Northern California.

During the operating years, 1962 - 1965, this silo would have contained a crib structure that would have supported the missile. These days, this base sits empty collecting dust, waiting to be purchased.