January 26, 2012

Finding a Place Below the Milky Way

This travelogue is officially going on hiatus. There will be occasional photo updates here.

2011 was a chaotic year, but then again, aren't they all! Between a new book, Dark Passage event, adventures in bookbinding, setting up an arts center in Detroit, Furnace Press, collaborating with Bryan Papciak, travels & explorations, and of course working for a living, the site updates have fallen ridiculously behind. I’ll keep posting on the Tumblr page above until the plaster dust settles. I hope everyone has a fun and fabulous new year – and thanks for visiting!

February 18, 2011

Where Nietzsche Went to Relax

December 17, 2010

The Skull Aquariums

The catacombs in Naples, Italy, where these photos were taken, are filled with thousands of skulls and bones dating back to the 17th century. For a short time, members of a local cult would adopt skulls and build little houses for them in the hope of receiving otherworldly rewards, such as contact with dead loved ones or prophecies that might lead to earthly riches. While some of these houses were obviously built with care, a few skulls ended up in glass cases resembling aquariums. The blurring and texturizing effects of the glass had an interesting effect on the skulls that I'm still exploring in the photos. But a few images - with and without glass cases - are now online. Many thanks to Le Nuvole for access to this site!

More photos here.

September 23, 2010

The Golden Ballroom

Time is running out for this forgotten property along a German riverfront. A roof collapse in the center of the sprawling building is slowly dragging the entire structure down into its pit. But this golden jewel in the back is still holding its own. It's nearly unmarked by graffiti, possibly because the only remaining access is a second-story window - of course best traversed in a sparkling pair of dancing shoes.

June 27, 2010

Hotel Psychedelia

Colorful wallpaper reigned inside this old Catskills hotel, which unfortunately no longer stands. More images here.

June 23, 2010

Indiana Storefront

June 22, 2010

Alaska Junkyard

June 14, 2010

The Ladies of the Morning Light

Found in the basement of an empty asylum on the Mediterranean coast.

January 19, 2010

December 11, 2009

December 7, 2009

December 5, 2009

Keeping Records

Someone took the warning "Do Not Remove From Hospital" on the patient files a bit too seriously when this place was shuttered. Of course it seems to be a rarity whenever the staff of a closing hospital actually disposes of medical records in a way that keeps them confidential. Usually the echo of the giant "Fuck it" reverberates for years after the doors are slammed shut. Coming across records like this time and again, it was surprising to see what a stir was caused in Scotland last year after explorers announced finding such files in the abandoned Law Hospital. It would be interesting to hear whether the files were ever actually removed once the media attention was gone. It seems to be the sort of thing that few care about unless it happens to a relative.

After writing something on this for Archaeology magazine a few years ago, I mostly stopped taking photos of dumped files. But this recent find seemed unusually depressing - and this topic, in general, is grossly underexposed. Mentally ill patients are stepped on enough. No need to trample on their records as well.

Here are two facilities that have been closed for roughly the same time. Above, a file room in a California hospital. Below, an enormous archive of records in an abandoned asylum in Italy. How different societies treat their dead reflects important aspects of their culture. Perhaps the same thing can be said here. Can you picture what similar rooms might look like in Japan, Sweden, Nigeria? Notice the empty vodka bottle in the California trash heap? That concludes today's public service announcement. Take care of yourself and those you love.

November 20, 2009

The Orphanage

This long-shuttered Catholic orphanage is still strikingly pretty, although its 1930s chapel is quickly declining into a vandalized dump site. Its days are numbered anyway; construction and demolition are about to begin to turn the campus into affordable housing. Above, a picture of the chapel from about three years ago; a few recent photos below.

November 19, 2009

Blacklight Isolation

The isolation rooms of a sprawling mental hospital are now barren of everything except the lights. The dual light bulbs - black and clear - are unusual; even more surprisingly, they're still intact. Too bad there's no electricity; to see the hallway in the light of only these room lamps would have been an incredible sight.

November 17, 2009


Found inside a closet in an old psychiatric ward. Maybe the men residing at this hospital (cough) were not playing with a full deck and decided to split up the cards instead?

October 31, 2009

Just a Little Closer

Happy Halloween.

October 26, 2009

Doorway in the Afternoon

"... As I went forward, striding very strong, and making a good speed, I did hear presently a little noise upward in the night, and someways unto my left, that had seeming as that it were a strange low sound that did come down to me out of an hidden doorway above; for, indeed, though the sound did come from very nigh, as it did seem no more than a score feet above my head, yet was it a noise that did come out of a great and mighty distance, and out of a Foreign Place. And I did know the Sound; though never, as you may suppose, could I have heard it in all my life. Yet had I read in one of the Records, and again in a second and a third, how that certain of all they that had adventured from the Pyramid into the Night Land to seek for knowledge, had chanced to hear a queer and improper noise above them in the Night; and the noise had been strange, and did come from but a little way upward in the darkness; yet was also from a great and monstrous distance; and did seem to moan and hum quietly, and to have a different sounding from all noises of earth. And in the Records it was set forth that these were those Doorways In The Night ..."

From "The Night Land" by William Hope Hodgson