Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ghostly Ruins

I got this book a few months ago because I have always been fascinated by abandoned architecture. The thought that once they were so full of life and now they're a hollow reminder of what once was. To me there's just something so eerie and intriguing about that. The book is great in showing what these structures looked like 'as they were' and as they now look- derelict and decaying. I especially love these words of caution from the author to people who are less than respectful of the structures:

"4. Vandalism is for adolescents. If the only way you can feel important is by spray painting "Vinnie" on limestone ashlar wall laid by men with ten times your value to society, then wait until you grow up to visit."

If you get the chance definitely have a look through the book. Ghostly Ruins by Harry Skrdla.

One building in particular has always struck a chord with me and that is the abandoned H.H. Richardson Complex or The Buffalo Psychiatric Center. I used to drive past this all the time, back in the Queen City. My grandmother, in fact, worked there as a nurse during the 1970's. She said there was some kind of tunnel for the staff to walk through to get from one building to the next and she said that was creepy. It's such a foreboding structure. When I think of an old insane asylum in a horror movie, this is one totally fits the bill. Having opened in 1880 I'm sure it's treatment methods weren't exactly pleasant, so I'm guessing there's probably some uncomfortable feelings inside.

While looking up the Buffalo Insane Asylum awhile back I came across photography by Shaun O'Boyle. He has taken some beautifully melancholy pictures in his project Modern Ruins - Portraits of Place. On his website it says he is currently publishing two books on Northampton State Hosipital and here are some of those pictures from Northampton...

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no man lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

From The Garden of Proserpine

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here are some other really neat websites I came across: