In as much as people may find Chris' costume making hobby strange, I totally get that people may also find my affinity for urban decay to be strange. While I don't consider myself to be a camera-toting-hipster who takes pictures of broken stuff, I do tend to find beauty in things that are falling apart. I don't know why really, but it is appealing to me. Perhaps it is that something that is falling apart seems to have more of a story than something that is shiny and new? I also find that I ask more questions of places that are falling apart than places that are orderly and clean. Take the image above as an example. When I see things like this I instantly start asking; who painted this message? Why did they never want to go home and why would they recommend I do the same? Was that person homeless and was there something deeper to the statement, or was it just some kid with a spray can?
With this image, when I looked in this particular cell at Eastern State Penitentiary my eye was captured by the green desk. How many letters to home were written there, and did anyone ever read them? Did the person(s) who stayed in this cell used to chip away at the plaster out of sheer boredom, or did all this fall apart after the prison closed and sat empty for over 20 years? I know one thing, it would have sucked to have stayed in that cell for any amount of time! That's what I hope my camera caught and is telling you as you look at it.
I also find graffiti to be interesting to look at and photograph… sometimes. Not the kind of graffiti you find in Cades Cove where some moron felt the need to etch their name in a historic building that is now forever damaged, but the kind you find tucked away somewhere that maybe not a lot of people will see. The kind where the person that did it is clearly very talented. I don't know who "Panda" is, or if that is even someone's tag, but they sure had a good time inside this old building. Here I liked the repeating lines of the columns, the reflections in the water, the randomness of the broken glass, and of course the randomness of someone picking the word panda.
Why urban decay for Picture Me, Loving You? Well, obviously the image that sparked the whole idea was in a delapidated setting, but for me, it is bigger than that. As I said in the original post, the story is a bit of a dark one so I felt dark and maybe somewhat creepy would be fitting. We're also mixing in animal characters with real people as though they belong together in the same world somehow, so a setting that was unusual and different seemed most appropriate to seal the message to the viewer that we're not dealing with everyday reality (not that they'd need much help).
So will it work? Well, we'll find out in just a few short weeks. I know one thing… we've gone to some pretty creepy places to pull this all off! 🙂
Oh hey, one more thing, in case you missed the announcement from last week, we'd love to have you all join us for the final shoot of Picture Me, Loving You. More details can be found here.