Skylight HallwayDerelict GarageKeep An Eye On The Rear ViewFor An 81 Prelude

D.C. Automotive, a set on Flickr.

Driving through DC today I couldn’t help but notice a bland, vacant lot of dirt and gravel where this treasure trove once stood.

Visited this area maybe 2 years back, was surprised as hell to find it chock full of auto parts dating back to mid-to-late 80s automobiles. Tail lights, head lights, radiators, transmission components, you name it. Was an obvious joke to pick up a junker car at that point and restore it will the dusty left-behinds in the garage.

At the time it had been reduced to a homeless hotel, with plenty of makeshift sleeping arrangements within the shop. It was a pretty large property. Who knows where they could be hiding out now. As the money encroaches on the area, there are less and less options for those already depleted of options to turn.
Baltimore PrideBaltimore PrideBaltimore PrideBaltimore Pride

Baltimore Pride 2014, a set on Flickr.

Gays. Gays everywhere.

Train Station Time Lapse on Flickr.

What a way to kill time waiting on the train platform.

Conjuring on Flickr.

Worth the scarring from slapping myself in the hips with the whisk holding the steel wool.

Grace Ocean

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Sometimes while running time lapse the stills strike you more than enough.

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Sometimes they end up better than the time lapse itself.

https://flic.kr/p/niYVmC

Been playing with an idea on how to portray the experience of a time lapse in video. Do tell me what you think.

Tunnel Topper on Flickr.

I don’t like admitting that my constant search for a worthwhile narrative is really just my rationalization of a crippling state of depression. The notion sours something I perceive as supremely important, a personal quest for existential effervescence. Such a construct of self-deception is far more appealing than a cliched routine of self-flagellation and annoying mutterings of defeat and low self-esteem. Quite the opposite, it embodies an artificial ego that, at times, even convinces conscious thought of one’s own importance to the overall narrative of our lives as they wind and intersect in the great web of cause/effect happenings of the day-to-day. But pretending so hard, so regularly, making the imagined reality a mandatory effort of healthy daily function… it’s pretty exhausting.

Some days beg for long sleep and dreams of memories when you knew who you were and exactly what you needed to do. Reprieve in the bliss of knowing and dutiful direction. Makes the waking hour not nearly such a struggle.

Exhaustion on Flickr.

We’d spent the greater part of 16 hours traversing the wildly mountainous highways of Coal Country. Like Road Warriors, hungrily seeking every bit of abandon our strained eyes could spot. Our clothes and our hair stank of the dank stale air of a half-dozen derelicts and our nostrils no longer differentiated fresher air from the toxic breaths within the coke plant, the explore of the moment.

The trek into the death trap of industrial decay was replete with tall grass and weeds, precarious navigation along a narrow channel of land across a wide stream and final climb up the hill the derelict was built into. Our legs burned after the hike, sore from repetition of strain along the same lines in the approach of buildings prior. Once inside, interest in moving further left our bodies, opting for idleness and rest despite the creative pressures inspiring the self-abuse to begin with.

She leaned on the half-detached, flaking rust of a railing at the top of the stairs leading into the sifter as I navigated around a mess of refuse on the floor above. Her expression said it all, embodied the exhaustion and broken aching bodies we all were dealing with. The sun splashed on us with warmth embedded in the light through the walls torn down around a yet standing door frame. So much as my arms would allow, I lifted my camera waist high and snapped a frame that would embody the experience. The road trip, however much a release of stress and indulgence of stifled creative energies, was also a reminder of the consequence of such a creative binge.

Much as we would love to spend every hour of our daily lives exercising the thoughts and skills and muse to its fullest potential, it would inevitably break us. That day, with the sun setting in an orange glow through the haze of wind-stirred coal dust, it already had.

Broken and beautiful.

Bleach and DyeBleach and DyeBleach and DyeBleach and Dye

M.B.D. Plant, a set on Flickr.

Coal Country, PA has a long history of domestic production industries since obsoleted by globalism and cheap foreign labor. The landscape of the rolling Appalachians is blighted by small, broken towns, once booming bastions of American Industry reduced to a pandemic of drug abuse and detritus. It is far from uncommon for the hollow husks of these towns’ former savior production plants, factories and warehouses to remain as somber, derelict reminders of the industries that abandoned them.

In 1904 a young entrepreneur in the heyday of America’s Industrial Revolution recognized opportunity in the Schuylkill region of Pennsylvania. He constructed his first textiles plant to capitalize on the otherwise untapped skilled labor potential of the area, followed soon after by $100,000 investments in the early and mid 1910’s for larger brick fabrication plants. Under the stress of World War the company reached its apex, providing jobs to both returning soldiers and a pool of labor trickling in from an anemic coal industry. Both employing the majority of the regional population and investing generously in the community from which it attained its labor pool, what began as a simple underwear factory enabled an otherwise isolated county to thrive.

Revolutionary cultural and economic shifts birthed in the many movements of the 1970’s marked the beginning of an arduous end for American textiles manufacturing as a whole. Unionization of garment industry labor forces squeezed higher wages from companies’ overhead, and paired with new Federal interventions in the form of environmental protection statutes, fees intended to preserve the Schuylkill river and county overall pressured the company’s capacity to remain competitive with rising threats of cheap labor and goods entering a global market scene from the likes of China, Mexico and new non-union textiles plants emerging in the Southern United States.

By 1984 a third of the company’s workforce had been laid off, and in attempt to anticipate its own diminishing market relevance offered voluntary early retirements to employees. Lower taxes, wages and benefit obligations among Southern States created an impossible environment for the company to remain competitive in. Saddled by unions, EPA fines and oversight, and unable to invest in new production machinery and equipment to remain market relevant, return on investment evaporated, and the company would hemorrhage hopelessly for the next 13 years.

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, marked the killing blow for the American textiles industry. Solvent and successful businesses immediately abandoned the taxed and unionized domestic producers and capitalized on the cheap and plentiful labor available to them in the third world. After a decade of debilitating anemia, the textiles plant closed in 1997, extending benefits and job training to the remaining 89 laborers and ending a 93 tradition of garment manufacturing and community investment.

Abandoned for 13 years, the property decayed alongside the quality of the township it formerly benefited. Marred by vandalism and regular arson, it was quickly categorized a blighted property and became the ire of the community. The only sniff of hope amid crumbling brick, ash and broken glass was a proposal from an out of town developer notorious for re-purposing cheap, blighted properties into low-rent and senior residential housing. Plans have since been stonewalled by a multitude of outstanding leins and zoning variance complications.

The plant was an economic powerhouse that carried an isolated township into the Industrial Revolution. It clothed the soldiers of two World Wars and conflicts in East Asia and, despite overwhelming economic pressures imposed by changing labor dynamics and Federal intervention, refused to back down from its investments and obligations to bettering the community to which it owed its skilled labor force. Because of outsourced labor and importing cheaper foreign goods, it now rots and crumbles under its own weight, much like the township left with no choice but to abandon its goods for the offerings of infectious commercial giants whose offerings will only benefit foreign manufacturing economies until the unemployed workforce can no longer afford to purchase even the cheapest in foreign goods.

Via Flickr:
Images from an abandoned dye plant.
Lamp DetailBulb DetailRotten Catwalk OffshootShutter Detail

A. Hole, a set on Flickr.

Fare thee well, oh sweet Ashley. Rest easy in the anthracite dust.