The front half of this building is the original (very grand) house that was built in 1866. At the back, a much more modern bar, kitchen and banquet room were added about 100 years later. We start our tour in the old part of the house.
To another door that goes… nowhere. And yet another stair.
On the ground floor of the tower, looking towards the room with the chair (prior post) and the stairway to the next level. The floor was really bad, it was soft with a few holes where earlier visitors had broken through.
The stairways of this place are interesting… each floor has a different style of stair. A narrow spiral stair takes me up to the second floor. This photo is looking back down the stair to the first floor.
This is the start of what I hope will be a bit of a series. It is about an old property (the original buildings are dated 1866) that I have been dropping in on for more than a year now. Much of it has sat empty and decaying for many years, but the site is not abandoned – it is used by the town for low-income (and I suspect, no-income) housing. Recently, efforts have begun to clean the place up.
I have a lot of photos from this place and now that I have some idea of the story I want to tell with them, I can start to process the shots. Rather than save them up for one big blog posting, I am going to dole them out to you as I finish with each.
Much of the history of small-town Ontario is related to the rivers. Early industry found the combination of river transport and water-powered machinery key to choosing a location. This drew workers, and later the railroad. Another small Ontario town was born.
More than a hundred years later, many of these towns have grown into cities. Some of the early industrial stone structures are still in use, adapted for other uses. Many sit empty. I recently toured some of these river towns to try to capture fitting portraits of some of these old buildings. I’m sure I will be adding more to this series over time.
The old buildings that I photograph are often full of artifacts of the lives once lived there. For me personally, often the most poignant of these are the ones related to children. An old crib… a broken toy… telling stories of when there was vibrant life in this abandoned place. I can almost hear the echoes of the baby’s cries and the child’s laughter…
I think these photos have enough in common to merit giving them their own album in my online portfolio. The album is called “Childhood’s End”. Here are a couple of the photos from the album:
Touring some of the Contact venues along Queen West with friends a couple of weeks ago, I saw a number of photographers that used colour overlays in their work. Some of these, I thought, were quite spectacular. Well, the wheels in my head started turning and by the time I got home that evening I had resolved to do some experimenting with this technique. Here are a couple of photos from abandoned homes I visited this past winter with my colour experiments applied. In both I deliberately use a combination of warm and cool colours, applying them to a black and white conversion.
Feeling a little house-bound recently, I went out for a drive after dinner. Cruising some backroads that I have not been on before, I saw a glimmer of light in the trees beside the road. A closer look… it’s an old travel-trailer that has been abandoned to the elements. It had sort of an early sixties Jetson’s space age chic to it. Very much out of place in the Canadian woods, this trailer would have been at home on a thruway, towed by a big Detroit convertible, on it’s way to a national park.
The setting sun and shadows from the trees provided dramatic lighting inside the trailer.
A refrigerator and old bed springs provide some found art.
Another storm system is approaching southern Ontario on a late winter day. *sigh* I was trolling some back-roads trying to find the ruins of an old abandoned house I had heard about. I missed it the first time by, but caught sight of it on the second pass. The stonework and the way it had weathered reminded me of a scene from post WWII Europe. This shot looking through a window to a door to another window reminds me of a Led Zeppelin album cover.
The storm clouds were building as the front neared. They provided a very moody backdrop to this long shot of the ruin.
I recently visited an abandoned house that was far enough out-of-the-way that it had avoided being vandalized. There were beautiful ceramic knobs on most of the doors, their shiny clean finish a stark contrast to the rusted hardware they were attached to.
In one room there was a weathered plaster wall that was empty except for a single switch plate in the center. Originally, I intended to show it pretty much as-is, but the idea of adding a little whimsy to animate this stark scene came to me before I was done and resulted in this: