After talking about doing it for about 9 months now, my friend and fellow photographer Todd Shaak and I decided to go out shooting together today. When we first met, we realized that we had some similarities in the style of photography we enjoyed. Among various things, we both love “decayed” photography. That is, photography of things that are worn down or falling apart. It seemed pretty obvious we could have a fun time going shooting together.
I remember the first time I specifically went to photograph items like this. The house my brother Matthew bought to fix back up was completely falling apart; literally, it was rotting. After the family cleared all the refuse out of the house, I went in the next day and spent a few hours photographing various aspects of the things left over: the broken phone, the rotting floor, the bits of old newsprint advertising sticking out at random places in the wall which had been used as makeshift insulation. I had an amazing time and captured some awesome photos that day (several of which now hang in my home and on my studio walls).
That day really set the love of these things in my heart…there is a certain beauty and wonder in these things. I think for me, the bulk of the fascination comes from my love of history and archeology. I love visualizing the things that were…even if all I can see if a faded and broken remnant. There is also a bit of sadness tied to it, and I think this serves to remind me that without proper care and dedication, even the beautiful and majestic can be lost to neglect and decay. It reminds me to guard and cherish the things of beauty and value to me. It is a deep and multi-faceted appreciation for me that continues to grow as the years go on.
So, today…we went out driving around East St. Louis and St. Louis proper to see what things we can find. Todd is an expert at this…he goes out searching for these places all the time and has discovered some amazing places. I am personally a little out of the habit. The one thing about doing so many more portraits and weddings now is that I have less time to “play” with my craft than I used to have. We had a great time, and it was very nice to not only spend time with another photographer with the same passion as myself, but also to have the chance to practice my craft in a different way. Because, as Todd and I both were saying to each other, no matter if you primarily photograph weddings or portraits or babies or flowers or imaginary UFO’s, you will always increase all areas of your skills and techniques by spending time on different and specific forms of your craft. You might not think that shooting photos of rusted doors or broken glass can help you more effectively photograph a wedding, but I think it does. One thing is certain. If there is every a dropped and broken drinking glass at a wedding that the bride really wants captures, we are set.
Here are a few shots I took today. Hope you enjoy them! (and thanks for driving, Todd!)