I admit that I was not thinking of storytelling when I went to the mental hospital back in 2010 to get photos. I was just curious and wondered what I’d find. I had my Canon EOS 30D and a 50mm f1.8 prime lens with me. The 50mm lens precluded any kind of wide-angle shot so some of these photos are a bit cropped.
That’s my car. Yes, it’s blue. It’s not inconspicuous so it didn’t surprise me when I returned from a short jaunt into the broken window building that a cop car was slowly passing by, probably noting down the license plate. When he saw me and my camera, he waved me on and said, “Be careful.”
The above is the only wide shot I have of the premises and I had to take it from a distance. This is one building of many and for some reason I must have really liked it because I have lots of photos of it. Perhaps it’s because I love the mechanical-looking thing right there in front of my car. The building is, I believe, the 1894 laundry building. My impression of the other buildings were of dormitories—long buildings with lots of windows, one for each room.
I love this thing. It has something to do with the laundry building. I don’t know what its function is…steam venting? clothes chute? ??? I slipped between the fence and the wall on the right and was able to look down into what I am calling the incinerator. It seems to be a place where they build fire in brick ovens.
When I said that the premises are not secured, I really mean they are not secured. The place is easily accessed right here through the incinerator…
…and here, through a basement door.
Please don’t ask what I was thinking when I took this photo at such a bizarre angle! I think I was trying to be cute and failed. Anyway, another way in. I would go back just to get a decent shot of this door.
My guess as to why the premises are not as secure as they should be is because of the on-sight police station. Cops were patrolling all over the place…I think they were keeping an eye on me to make sure I maintained my innocent-photographer profile.
What intrigued me the most about this window is it’s symbolic relationship to a church. I included the poles just to add a sense of the cross to this image. This is the 1886 power plant.
Looking through the arched windows and into the power plant you find appropriate graffiti. INSANITY, PLEASE.
Around the corner is Electric St. More than any other image, this gives me the chills because I believe electric shock therapy was one way they treated the insane. I’m sure this is really connected to the power plant, but still…. (Actually, if you look at the sign, it doesn’t say St., it says Sh…Electric SHOCK??? I’m sticking with St.)
A beautiful door.
Behind the Power Plant is a pile of trash. I chose the photos that showed discarded fencing material…odd, since I think of fences as keeping people either in or out and this place definitely fits the description of keeping people in or out. I didn’t show smashed TV’s or broken toilets, though.
Oh, all right. Here’s the toilet.
There. I really do not like photos like this. Grime makes me uncomfortable. If I had to clean this area up, I would insist on a hazmat suit with huge gloves and head gear.
Sometimes I wonder what the inmates (yes, I will call them inmates) saw when they passed by this tower with the high wall. Did they long to leave? Or did they care? I don’t have the answer.
[Central State Hospital for the Insane opened in 1848 and closed in 1994, 146 years of serving Indiana's mentally ill. And if you wonder what happened to the patients when it closed, well, I'm not quite sure. Some went home to their families, but not as many as you would think; some ended up rooming together; few ended up homeless. I am unable to find specifics and the research done is sketchy as to outcomes of the patients, whether that is due to privacy issues or due to not asking the questions to which I wanted answers!]
When I was married, I didn’t have a car, at least, not one available to me during the day. I hated staying in the house so I walked everywhere. I lived a few blocks from the Monon Trail (a converted railroad track) and I would walk from 106th street in Indianapolis, Indiana up to Main Street in Carmel, Indiana, roughly a three mile walk. Along the way is an industrial area that is not in use anymore. Some kitschy shops have sprung up in the warehouses along the trail but there is this HUGE silo that has been abandoned for years. It always fascinated me and I loved to photograph it.
The last time I walked the Monon Trail was back in 2008. Following my divorce I moved south to a small community called Irvington, still part of Indianapolis but too far away to walk the Monon. However, Irvington was not a good place for me. Even though it’s a wonderful little community where everyone knows everyone else and they have summer picnics and music on the circle on south Audubon Ave, it’s not my preferred life-style. After a series of funny-but-terrifying experiences (and some not-so-funny) I left Irvington and moved back north where I felt safer.
I’ve been doing this 365 Days Journey Through the Past project where I upload a photo taken on today’s date but on a day sometime in my past. Recently I posted a couple of photos that I took of portions of this silo in 2006 and that I titled “Aladdin’s Lamps” and “Aladdin’s Companion”. I began to wonder what has time done to them? Today I drove to the Monon Trail to find out.
I parked my car in a parking lot near the Monon and went for a short walk through brisk, cold air and gloppy mud in order to check my lamps. Below I’ve posted the photos I took back in 2006 next to the photos I took today. Perhaps I should have rubbed the lamp, and kept rubbing the lamp hoping for a genie. Perhaps all that rubbing would have kept it from the inevitable decay of time.
Aladdin’s Lamp 2012 looks gaunt compared to what it looked like six years ago. I didn’t think that was possible for metal. The connections look eroded, like ill-fitting, painful joints and the surface is pock-marked with age. Vines reach out for it and grasp it, whispering how they will embrace it and build a strong shelter for it. But what the vines don’t tell it is that they will one day consume it. I know this; I have seen it. It takes time, but it happens.
The difference between the silo doors is obvious, also. One of my lamps is gone. I added red arrows to show where the lamps are and as you can see in Silo Door 2012, the right lamp is missing. In Silo Door 2006 vines crawl across the facade, and in Silo Door 2012 they hang all over the front like an abandoned web. The skeletal canopy juts out over the landing in both photos but Silo Door 2012 is starting to bow and what was left of the sheet metal roofing has tumbled to the ground. In Silo Door 2012 there are added swatches of pale-blue paint; to cover up graffiti?
I love abandoned things. I love the character that comes through. However, I’m worried about my silo. I knew it during an earlier stage in its decline and it was perfect then. Now it’s looking old and waiting for demolition. But who will do the demolition—man? nature? or time?
Yes. I do.
I love weathered metal,
I. Can’t. Help. Myself.
I know, this looks familiar. Could it possibly be the companion to Aladdin’s Lamp?
This hinge fascinates me from an imaginative perspective. I imagine rubbing its weathered body, polishing it so that it gleams, and having a genie billow out to offer me three wishes. I imagine the three wishes I might ask. I wish…. I wish for….. Um, well… I wish for a….
That’s where my imagination gets hijacked because I don’t have three wishes. I’ve seen too many genie movies and read too many genie books to want to unleash a selfish/unselfish wish out into the world to be granted by someone/thing outside myself.
Yet, it’s just your imagination, Dezra. There are no genies who grant wishes, you know that. So why not play along and unleash those wishes out of your head? Why become practical with your imagination at this point? I mean, it’s NOT REAL so make your wishes!!! Unleash them!
But I can’t. My wishes are stuck. I’m afraid that if I wish out loud, my wishes might come true, and then I’ll be responsible for them!
I really wish I wasn’t afraid.
Bordered by BIG EVENT photos on Flickr, these two photos seem rather mundane in comparison. I almost didn’t post them because they looked rather small and inconsequential juxtaposed next to and surrounded by the BIG EVENT. My brain is still fixed on the BIG EVENT because I’m going back to the BIG EVENT today, so it is very difficult for me to jump from the BIG EVENT excitement to…well…these non-events.
And that’s a shame because they have their own stories to tell.
I leave you with two non-events for the time being while I now get ready to head back out for the BIG EVENT to bring back more BIG EVENT photos to completely make these two non-event photos inconsequential. Sigh.