DongboxdeskWarehouseMixed Messages

C.E.P., a set on Flickr.

Steel production has always been a staple of industry in New England. Production plants remain the blue collar powerhouses of many townships along the Appalachians, the veritable life blood of local economies. However, with global economic pressures seeing much of America’s formerly mighty steel industries shipped overseas, many of these production plants are forced to downsize into dissolution. Some do it more gracefully than others.

This plant functioned as key producer of steel beams for use in home and commercial construction, shipping containers and large transit vehicles like buses and RVs. In 2007, even before the Great Recession, the firm, which had been thriving since 1986, was down to as few as 25 employees. With steel home and the RV markets stifled by reduced spending power among the general populace, the company in ownership of the plant took action to compensate for the significantly reduced capital earned through sales by cancelling Workman’s Compensation and retaining Social Security withholdings.

The few employees remaining were unaware of the conditions imposed quietly upon them until an accident in 2011 in which a finger was severed in a steel punching machine. In trying to have his medical expenses paid through Workman’s Compensation, the victim of the accident discovered no insurance was held by the company to cover employees in on-the-job emergency medical expenses. Litigation ensued, and continues this day.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the company has been auctioning off production equipment and put its property up for sale. Most recently, in a show of determination to remain a regional employer, the company announced plans to restructure its business as a steel-product repair firm. Meanwhile, it is demolishing its former production facility for scrap and to augment allure of the property to potential buyers.

Today the plant is mostly leveled, piles of rubble and scrap metal slowly being ferried off of the property to local scrapyards. The innards of every building tell of how long the property has remained empty, heavily coated in dust, dirt and rust, and the telltale graffiti scribbling of many a bored teenager from end to end. What is left won’t stand much longer, and the lot will likely be doomed to many years spent empty, sandy and overgrown.

Parenthetical Seating on Flickr.

Sometimes sterile design can be beautiful.

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


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


Sometimes they end up better than the time lapse itself.

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.