Spent 3 days last weekend exploring the beautiful Northern California coastline for the first time. Throughout most of the trip, the sky was filled with clouds, but it was still warm, beautiful, relaxing and perfect for long exposure photography.
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.
B-52 bomber glistening beneath the moonlight in a California desert.
Inside the now abandoned Essex County Jail in New Jersey.
This jail was constructed in 1837 and designed by John Haviland (he also designed the Harrisburg State Hospital and Eastern State Penitentiary). It remained in operation for over 100 years before it finally closed in 1970.
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.
The Columbia River Gorge has hundreds if not thousands of waterfalls. I have yet to be disappointed by one I've seen and these falls were no different. The terrain, light and foliage varied so much here that I took dozens of images, all very different from one another.
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.
Patient rooms, such as this, inside the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey were designed to hold one or two patients, but within about 10 years of opening, the hospital experienced severe overcrowding and was treating almost double the patients it was designed to treat. Patients were crammed to these small rooms and beds were added and moved into the hallways.
Sometimes the world makes you feel so small...
This theatre was part of a facility for feeble-minded women, particularly between the ages of 16 and 45. It was designed to detain, segregate, care for and train these women and operated from 1920 to 1998.
Despite the hospital's dark history, this theatre was quite beautiful. I loved the worn texture of the wooden seats, the missing tiles on the ceiling playing a game of Tetris and the beautiful massive windows with gaudy golden draperies.
Over the past year, the state of New Jersey has accepted multiple bids, upwards of $150 million for the restoration of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, but today they made the incredibly tragic decision to demolish the building at a cost of $34 million.
Not only is this facility historic in a medical sense, but architecturally it's significant as well. Prior to the Pentagon being constructed, it was the largest contiguous stone building in the United States. It's a beautiful Kirkbride building, with open spaces full of light, beautiful architecture and a lot of life. I wish nothing more than to see buildings like these being constructed today, but tragically, we're about to tear one down. This is a terrible decision New Jersey. You'll realize this someday, but sadly it will be too late...
News story: http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/local/2014/08/14/greystone-demolition-bid-awarded-m/14071177/
Tail section of a B-52 bomber used by General Electric in the 1960's to test their TF-39 engine.
Tunnel Junction for launch silo No. 3 at the Beale 851-C Titan I Missile Base.
In July 2008 Greystone Park Psychiatric closed and the remaining patients and Administration Offices relocated to the new facility less than a mile away.
Since then, the state of New Jersey has been deliberating over the best course of action for the decaying hospital. In the last few years, a group known as Preserve Greystone formed and has been advocating for the preservation of the massive Kirkbride building, along with hundreds of historians, preservationists and nearby residents.
Sadly, the state has not even entertained contracts of up to $100 million to restore the facility, but instead have chosen to demolish the building using $50 million of taxpayer money. Sometime later this year, the building will be demolished and over one hundred years of history, stories and medicine will be nothing more than a memory.
The colors of the Excelsior Spring were unreal and watching the steam dance in the sunlight was mesmerizing.
Yellowstone is an absolutely incredible place, but I encourage everyone to follow the rules when you visit.
Yesterday, a photographer flew a drone over the Grand Prismatic Spring, ignoring National Park rules banning drone use inside parks, and it crashed into the Grand Prismatic Spring sinking to the bottom of the 120 foot deep pool - http://time.com/3088792/drone-yellowstone-park/
All it takes it one person to potentially destroy a beautiful natural wonder and ruin it for everyone else...