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.

Photo: "Filtered Sunlight"

 
 

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. 

Photo: "Theatre Gold"

 
 

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. 

 

Photo: "Empty Hallways of Lost Promises"

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/

Photo: "Preserve Greystone!"

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.

Photo: "Following Rules In National Parks"

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...

Photo: "Olmstead Point"

 

Yosemite Naional Park

Back in June I took a last minute trip to Yosemite National Park and the Mammoth Lakes for some full moon goodness with another night photographer.

When we arrived in the park around 11pm, we drove up to Tioga Pass, with the intentions of driving until we saw something awesome we wanted to shoot.  The advantage of the Super full moon was that it was bright enough to see our surroundings.

This was my first time up at Olmstead Point and it was so beautiful and peaceful.

 

Travel: Wyoming 2014

Last month, I spent 5 days in Wyoming with my brother and Dad. 

Similar to last year, my brother and I flew to meet up with Dad on his 6,000 mile, 6 week road trip across the Western half of the United States in his 1950 Ford Woody pulling a 1947 teardrop trailer. 

We started off in the Grand Tetons for 2 days and then went North into Yellowstone for the last half of the trip. 

Having never been to Wyoming, I didn't know what to expect, but I was hoping to see buffalo or a moose for the first time in addition to the amazing mountains, beautiful geysers and thermal activity in the area. 

Of course Wyoming did not disappoint. I saw wild buffalo, got within 30 feet of a bull moose and saw many beautiful unreal pools of bubbly hot water. I paddle boarded on the most beautiful lake I have ever seen surrounded by the Grand Tetons, lilypads and fish, camped in a tent through 2 nights of torrential downpour as the lightning and thunder crashed all around and loved every minute of it. 

Thank you family for the amazing adventure! 

With my Dad and brother at Firehole Falls

With my Dad and brother at Firehole Falls

 

Grand Tetons National Park

1950 Ford Woody entering the Park

American Bison, Grand Tetons National Park 

American Bison, Grand Tetons National Park 

American Bison Nursing, Grand Tetons National Park 

 

Shooting Ansel Adams style

 
 

Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park 

 

Bull moose spotted in Moose, Wyoming

Sun setting while driving through the Grand Tetons 

Paddle boarding on String Lake

Snake River

Oxbow Bend

Female Deer

Female Deer

 

Yellowstone National Park

Continental Divide in the 1950 Ford Woody 

Emerald Pool 

Blue Sapphire Pool 

Excelsior Glacier 

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring, iPhone pano

Black Sand Basin, iPhone pano

Old Faithful 

Yellowstone Lake Hot Springs

Churning Cauldron 

Mud Volcano Area

Tower Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs 

Biscuit Basin 

Bisquit Basin, iPhone Pano

Elk along the roadside