It was late afternoon and the sun was high in the sky, the temperature was chilly but a jacket and one was fine. The group of us planned on meeting up at Steve’s ( @softfocusprod ) house and carpooling to the shoot location. There would be eight of us in total for todays excursion, and as i pulled down the road i was greeted by Kayla ( @kaylasavage_ ) who would be one of the models for the day, James ( @jamesorgyinthefacility ), Tori ( @graphicpsycheldelic ), and Robyn who would also model for the day. We all exchanged info and stories while waiting for Enzo ( @enzodadude ) and Jennie ( @jennyfromtherock ). Once they arrived we split up into two cars and headed off to the location for the day, an old church retreat buried deep in the woods, we parked at a forest service gate and proceeded to walk the long paved road that would end up at our destination.
The road was curved through bare forests and green pines before cresting a hill and revealing the retreat. This place was different then most abandoned places we venture to as the whole building was unlocked, and even with this there was no graffiti throughout, everything was clean and untouched. Also surprisingly the boiler was still kicking on and off providing heat throughout the building which was a pleasant surprise. We walked in through the front door and everyone split there separate ways like an episode of scooby doo to go explore the new terrain. The first floor consisted of a chapel hall, living quarters, a kitchen, and long hallways with ample light. The basement featured the boiler room, storage areas filled with old light bulbs and spare parts, and a full sized basketball court, while the top floor had a balcony overlooking the chapel, some bigger rooms leading to outdoor balconies, and access to the expansive roof via a runged ladder heading through the ceiling. After everyone had there fill of exploring we all gathered down stairs in the gym to begin shooting our first images.
These consisted of an antique couch being dragged to the center, a fire extinguisher being used to create atmosphere, and gorgeous rays of natural window light. Its always nice to have a big group on shoots from time to time, the interactions and the creative ideas that get thrown out consistently is always nice, as well as how much you learn by witnessing different peoples creative processes and ways of interacting while shooting or posing. After getting our image fill in the gym we broke off into smaller groups, some went to other rooms to do self portraits, others went to explore the roof before all gathering again by the waterfront behind the building where an expansive dock lay, James managed to open a nearby shed finding two sailboats that would provide a good backdrop and prop foursome photos, one by one everyone we had come with came out to the dock to utilize and photograph the happenings, weather it be James sailing the pond propelling himself with a fire extinguisher, kayla posing nude on a boat, or just to enjoy the sun on the water. The shenanigans lasted until all were cold and ready for the oddly climate controlled abandoned building once more.
One by one we tracked back into the brick building in search for more locations, we found this in the form of an outdoor balcony off of the third floor. Robyn had been out there smoking and the light that was coming through the trees lit her perfectly, after minimal posing instructions i shot off a few photos and moved back inside to see what else was around. Like a commune of artists each room had something creative going on in it as i wandered the empty halls, being surrounded by creatives always makes you push your work further and think outside of the box, being so i encourage you all to get out more with others and collaborate. We spent a few more hours wandering and shooting about the building before all getting hungry and wanting to head out in search for food and a re-charge. After some much needed pizza we drove around the town to a nearby reservoir where we planned on shooting until the sun set over the lake. This was cut short almost immediately as we hadn't even set our bags down before a self entitled park ranger showed up to accuses of being terrorists with no jobs and not paying taxes, i wish i were exaggerating but unfortunately this man was very ignorant, not wanting to further escalate and feed into this mans complex we packed up and went down the road to some power line trails to finish off our terroristicattacks, er i mean photographs, the sunset set in the perfect spot and we were all able to get beautifully backlit portraits. All in all the day was filled with adventures, new friendships, strengthened old ones, and as always photography and art.
-Stay Traveling Friends