Untold Stories: Abandonment and Decay Through the Lens of an iPhone
I have always been intrigued with photographing old abandoned buildings and houses. They all seem to look sad and lonely, like the life has been sucked out of them. They all have cracks, holes, broken windows or doors and crumbling paint and are often characterized by a monochromatic, mostly brownish grey, color scheme. They look like they have lived a hard life and if they were people, they would all look like the elderly people that line the hallways of nursing homes waiting for visitors who they may or may not remember, gaunt and hollow in the face with no emotion or expression. I don’t know why I am drawn to these lonely structures but I have pulled over on the sides of many roads to capture their beauty, or lack there of, while passing by. They yell to me to be photographed, perhaps a last portrait for some, before a bulldozer ends the life that was once full of people and events, families and celebrations, untold stories that we will never know. It was not until the summer of 2011 that I knew exactly what I would do with my growing collection of photographs. As I entered a building for a lecture one evening during a 2011 graduate class summer session at Texas Tech University in Junction, Texas, I stumbled upon a collection of preserved animals in jars in the biology lab. A shelf full of preserved specimens caught my eye as the sun reflected through their formaldehyde to display rainbow prisms on the wall behind them. As a child, I had every animal one could imagine because both of my grandfathers were scientists, one a zoologist, the other an entomologist. We had animals from one end of the house to the other and to this day, my passion and love for animals remains strong. I knew as soon as I laid eyes on the specimen jars that I had to spend time photographing them. I did not know where the photographs would lead me but I knew I needed to photograph them. The combination of the collection of abandoned structures and objects and the collection of specimen photos are seen below in a series of diptychs called Untold Stories. You will notice that the diptychs are not titled. Titling these images has been the hardest part of this project for me. I am still undecided so they remain untitled.