Why I do what I do…
Ever since the Winter of 2008, when I first came across a derelict farmhouse in North Dakota, I have been on the hunt to preserve abandoned houses and buildings through photography. I have always had a fascination with them since childhood. I can recall a handful of interesting abandoned and neglected houses in the areas that I had grown up in and how painfully sad I was when they were torn down for new development. Most people won’t remember them now, and unfortunately it never occurred to me to photograph them when I was younger. Now I see this series as a photo preservation project, a race to visually capture neglected buildings before they are gone.
Over the years, what began as a personal curiosity and an exciting way to spend a free afternoon, has grown into a deeply rooted passion. In the beginning I would just sneak into houses, take my pictures and quickly leave. Now I am coming into contact with locals, property owners and historians in order to learn more about each building. Eventually I hope to create a book, or series, on the subject of Rural Decay in America; but for now I photograph and write.
I have set for myself a guideline of “rules” to follow. I deeply respect and love these old buildings. My intentions are purely to explore and visually record what is left of them before they no longer exist. The condition of the house and or building when I come across it varies greatly, some are in decent shape while others are barely holding together, therefore some common sense and gentle patience are required when exploring the interior.
- Cause no Damage to property – This, one would think, would be obvious. I never force a door open or break either a door or window to enter the interior. If I can not easily and safely enter a space without causing additional damage then I simply do not enter at all. I am cautious of each movement I make inside and where I step. I see plenty of the damage left by others before me and I do not wish to follow their disrespectful behavior.
- Do NOT take or leave behind a thing – It is imperative that I leave a place as I found it. To take anything from one of these sites is highly unethical as nothing inside belongs to me or anyone else except for the legal owners of the property. I aim to leave a site exactly as it was before I came across it. This also includes not leaving behind garbage of my own. Littering is for me a major pet peeve and I view it as the highest form of disrespect one can display against our country, or any country for that matter.
- Always be Responsible for Oneself – Some people worry about me entering an unsafe building, which is understandable. I have been doing this for several years now and know very well what are my own limits.I trust my own ability in judging the safety of my own actions. I do not hold others responsible for my own decisions. Often I will make several trips over a period of time to one house to capture it in different lighting and in the process will become familiar with the house’s strength or lack of. If I do not feel safe then I do not enter.
- Location Note – The location of some places must remain a secret for the protection of a building or at the request of the owner. Lets face it, not everyone is me and will respect these buildings as I do. If I do not give strong or exact location of a building then please assume that it is not up for sharing.
Please do NOT use my images without my permission. That would be tacky and rude. If or when permission is granted then please remember to give me credit for my own work. That would be polite. I work very hard on this series and you don’t want to tarnish your karma by stealing images. Bad karma is not worth it!
Prints are for sale. Simply contact me for prices and sizes via Email: Palechickstudios@gmail.com
Want to suggest a place?
I am always scouting for new houses and interesting buildings. If you know of a place that you feel I should consider please feel free to send me an email at PalechickStudios@gmail.com or leave a comment . Also If you recognize a house or building from my photo series and have any additional information regarding its history, please definitely contact me. Researching some of these buildings is not easy and any assistance is always appreciated!