Tag Archives: asylum
I delved into the archives for this image one day when I was looking for something to process from an old Urbex trip. This image was taken in a place called Denbigh Asylum in Wales, and it was one of the many stops made by a group of us on a weekend of mischief.
This is the same room as my image Windows was taken in, just with looking the other way. I note re-reading that blog post that I was away for a week when I posted the image, so find it quite odd that 2 years later I’m away again, and scheduling another image from the same room during that period. Odd.
This is an automated post, as I am currently in Beijing; therefore my responses will be slow – if at all.
I returned to my West Park set of images when looking for brackets to process recently, and found this item from the Green Curtain room. It’s fascinating looking around these abandoned places and finding old items like this, and the mind goes into overtime thinking of who had to use them and why. I have no idea if similar items are used in modern day hospitals, they probably are but part of me looks at this and thinks it is so archaic that they can’t possibly still bein use.
Today I’m taking the train up to NYC to start my vacation – hurrah!
I haven’t done a square shot for a while, so when I was revisiting images I took in an old asylum in the North of Wales earlier this year I found a shot I didn’t really like originally and found that I liked the image a lot more by making it a nice square frame.
The left hand side of the original image is the part I had the greatest issue with, as there was nothing really happening there and the windows and door to the right of the frame looked too cluttered. There was also a lot happening nearer the camera in the original shot. The whole picture was unbalanced and of little interest.
I’ve been trying to look at some of my photos with a different eye of late, hoping to take elements of the image rather than simply use the whole piece that was captured, and for this one I think focussing just on the interesting corner of the shot worked very well with some great textures and interesting detail.
Meanwhile, I will be halfway through my holiday when this is posted to the blog – I’m sure time is flying for me.
I went on an urbex trip away at the start of the year, and when you spend the day driving, checking out abandoned places and taking photos you have no real time to plan where to sleep other than ‘we’ll be at this abandoned hospital around nightfall, so will kip there’.
Sure, this bed doesn’t look too inviting when stood taking a photo of it, but on a cold night when the floor is wet and mouldy this would actually be a nice soft place to put your sleeping bag and fall asleep and at least try and get a decent night of sleep before the next day begins.
I didn’t use this though, as it was taken at West Park and I’ve never stayed there (I opted for a hotel last time I was down in that area).
When I did sleep in an abandoned hospital it was indeed the cold, hard floor for me.
Today’s monotone is of myself in my usual urbex mask as I check out an old asylum.
This was my first visit to this place, but the five people I was with had all been there previously. As such, I quickly lost them all as they went to the various spots that they wanted to shoot and I was left to navigate the place solo – something I like, but with no phone signal or idea as to where I was going I felt that part could have been better planned.
I liked the light coming through the doorways in this corridor, and after taking a few test shots decided that the closest doorway was the best place for me to stand. I originally processed the shot in full colour, and quite liked how that had turned out, but thought it also worked quite well this way and of course it fits into this week’s theme of posts that are all being done in monotone.
I’ve found many doors on my urbex trips, and I particular like the ones that open out in to nothing but a long drop. They usually indicate places that used to have a floor on the opposite side, and now nothing remains other than a plummet to your doom – however I’ve seen one or two where the ‘nothing’ on the other side doesn’t look to have previously been something and, for some reason, there does just happen to be a door there that is pointless.
I’ve never, however, found a functional sideways facing door, and this is a little disappointing.
Yes, I know they would not be functional, and it may defeat the purpose of their being an actual door in place rather than a window or large cat flap – but I would still like to find one that’s in place, and fully hinged and working, even if it’s just because a wall has fallen over.
As you can see, there isn’t much else to say about this image. It was a large empty room on the top floor of one part of an old asylum. It had a lot of windows. I really liked the ceiling which was in a few different colours and had these metal rod supports for some reason, they didn’t look to be very supportive so not sure of their true purpose.
It also had that sideways door over on the left…but it didn’t go anywhere.
In other news, yesterday I had my first photo shoot where I was actually expected to produce results for an end client. They hadn’t really provided me with specific details of what they wanted so I spent an hour and a half snapping various features internally (it was a library) with a few different lenses before heading out to do a few exteriors (which would have been better in more suitable weather).
I took a lot of brackets, but feel I’ll only have 15-20 images to actually show for it by the time I’m done processing them. I’m very happy with those I have done so far though and hope that the client will be also. Once I’ve submitted these it will give them a chance to actually pinpoint any other details they would like me to shoot which I may not have covered in yesterday’s session – I don’t even know how many shots they’re expecting me to produce at this time.
We’re going back to Hellingly Asylum for this shot.
I was in the room next door to this when I first noticed this room. There are holes in the walls which meant I could see straight through, and as my eyes adjusted to the sunlight coming in through the windows I noticed that there were plenty of puddles on the floor which would offer up a nice reflection or two.
I think this was on the second floor so it’s nice to see so much greenery working it’s way up the outside of the building – though it’s likely the building is no longer even there now. It’s amazing in some of these places how nature has started to reclaim them in what’s a pretty short space of time. I watch a few of those property programmes and the developers always stress the importance of protecting your home from the forces of nature, making sure the roof tiles and any cracks in the walls are fully maintained. After seeing some of these abandoned places you can see why that is so important not to neglect.
This is the final of my West Park images for now, I hope you have enjoyed the 13 images I’ve put up in total – and haven’t been too bored that there have been 12 in a row.
Last time I visited the creche I am sure it was emptier than it was on this visit as I really can’t remember seeing things such as this cot, and many of the other items that had been left around. I suppose the first visit was my first trip to an asylum so I was less aware of my surroundings somehow, as I don’t these items have suddenly been moved in from elsewhere.
The tiny shoes that I’ve set as main point of focus in front of the cot were laying around out of view in the corner of the room, so I positioned these and straightened up a few of the square tiles on the floor a little. With hindsight I wish I had moved the shoes forward a lot more so that they are separated from the cot more. Nevermind.
As this particular image is published I will be one day into a three day urbex trip taking in various asylums, schools, churches, breweries, and so on. Hopefully that means there will be a nice chunk of images to process over the coming weeks. I still have other images from this location so I’m sure a few will be making their way back on to the blog at some point.
I hope you have a nice weekend, and here’s the other images I put up of West Park should you have missed any of them:
I’m not too sure what the fireplace cover type piece of wood is in this shot. It was hinged on the left hand side with another part of it going back to the fireplace, so I guess it could be the remnants of playhouse of some sort but I didn’t see any traces of the rest of it anywhere (if I had I doubt I would have resisted the urge to piece it together and have a little play in in to be honest).
One of the issues I’ve had with many of these West Park images is that there has been pretty much nothing but grey sky outside the windows and this appears like a blown out white in most of the shots. I was happy that this one at least had some part of the wing behind it which allows for a little view out of the window.
I’m going away for a few days so have scheduled some posts in advance – hurrah for Wordpress! There’s another coming up from West Park and then I’m digging into the archives a little as I simply don’t have the time to process a whole batch in advance. Do you guys leave a bunch on standby or do you tend to just process an image each day? How do you work around the busy times in your life and maintain a consistent post rate?
I would hate to see the results of any tests run of the germs in the toilets of these abandoned hospitals. The plumbing is long gone, but I’m sure people (most likely those who are exploring) use them to relieve themselves. Oddly, the smell is usually not that pungent, it just seems to seep into the stale air to join the rest of the decay.
This particular toilet appeared to be quite unique as it had some toilet roll in place, not something you often see. How long it’s been there I don’t know – I didn’t bother touching it to see if fell apart in my hands.
I seemed to take this photo at a really weird angle. Whereas at the time I think that I just wanted to try and get in the toilet roll, the toilet itself and the sink, I seemed to have managed to have lines that were at odd angles throughout in the original shot which you can see below. As such I spent some time trying to distort, and skew and change the perspective in a way that allowed me to then crop without losing too much detail, and so that the lines were pretty straight and at the same time without distorting the main focal points too much. I think it turned out quite well in the end, and I was then free to continue with the rest of the processing.
As the lock suggests, this toilet was indeed vacant.
That’s a good job considering the door is open…and the fact it was taken in an abandoned hospital!
If the status of this had been ‘locked’ or ‘occupied’ I think I would have been out of there before I was able to take a shot.
One of my problems when it comes to photography is that I can be pretty lazy at times. Sure, I can stand in the street and wait an hour for a clear spot to suddenly arrive in order to shoot it without people, or for the right light to arrive onto a scene – but when it comes to the simple things such as changing a lens to take a shot I’m pretty bad at it. I carry several lenses with me on each trip, adding to the weight in my bag, but rarely bother to change them – my 10-20mm is on there 90% of the time.
As such, when it came to take this shot I didn’t bother switching lenses, I just zoomed on in to the 20mm mark and pulled the camera up pretty close to the door. It’s something I often find myself doing…and sometimes it does just work.
I guess nowadays it’s pretty easy to add a little blur to your image in order to give it a nice focal point, so shooting a scene where it’s all in focus and then selectively blurring it has great advantages. It’s much more difficult to shoot a scene that already has a shallow depth of field and then find you want to try and make the blurred parts pretty sharp.
Yesterday I made a final trip to West Park. Though I could return at some point and take a few further detail shots, or perhaps a few more such as this where I’m posing in some way, I feel it would be less enjoyable with each further visit. The construction crew are quickly working their way through the place, and were pretty angry at our being there yesterday leading to a blood pumping chase and a mini game of hide and seek. Oddly one of them ran into the building after me, shouting and cursing, and followed me into the room with the grand piano, but even though he was within 3 or 4 meters of me I managed – somehow – to avoid being seen and dived into a nearby toilet to wait out for a while.
All good fun, but the rest of the place is going to be like that soon and it makes going there for specific shots that little bit more difficult.
The above was just an impromptu shot where we had been about to leave one of the wings and the chair was simply sitting in this unexciting room really inviting someone to sit down and have their photo taken – and so I obliged. The chair was a lot softer than it looks and I seemed to melt into the back cushioning, hence the terrible posture (not that my posture is great at the best of times).
Though the mask I was wearing is actually blue in colour I thought it looked a little better in this instance to drain the colour a little bit, and I think that along with the general blur throughout the rest of the scene worked out quite well.
In other news, this post means that I have posted one image per day on my new blog for 1 month now, and this includes Saturdays and Sundays. It hasn’t been easy to always fit in processing around work, a social life and having time to actually get out there and shoot things – and I’ve only ever had 2 posts scheduled in advance at a time to provide that room – and these are generally scheduled for the weekends when I know I won’t be at my PC too much.
I really admire how you lot do manage to maintain one post per day on your own blogs, especially if you don’t do this for a living. It takes a lot of drive to do this and I’m sure your readers appreciate the consistency. I also have to admire, and thank, all of those people who take the time to comment and retweet not only my work but those of others. It amazes me how you find the time to and the energy to keep up such a routine on a daily basis – I know I look at more images from others than I comment on, and retweet less than the average photoblogger might, but I appreciate it every time I see someone come here or promote an image of mine, so thank you.
This is all that remains of the main hall at West Park asylum, a burnt out shell after a fire in 2003. With a loud generator and construction staff who seem to be working in all directions from here it’s not a very peaceful location even though it looks like it may be.
I can only imagine how this place looked when the hospital was functional, and exactly what it was used for. With a hospital that could cater for up to 2,000 patients perhaps it was a main canteen of some sort churning out meal after meal all day to various groups. If anyone happens to know, please feel free to drop a note in the comments.
I remember that I used to sit in these types of chairs in school, bright orange with a bendy-ish back and a convenient hole to interact with the person in front with – teasing the girls by poking them with a pencil, and injuring the boys by poking them with a compass. It’s good to see what was used for my school was also used for hospitals around that time, and indeed before.
I also remember how we used to run up to one of these chairs and jump on it with one foot and place your second foot on the chair back, which would turn the chair over onto it’s back and – when done successfully – make you look pretty cool as you ran over it. I didn’t bother trying that with these chairs at this time – I think any excessive momentum of flipping a chair over with my added weight would have meant both the chair and myself would be on our backs, and probably one floor lower at the same time.
The chairs here actually look a little more inviting than they did on location, which is nice. The same room had one of those holes in the wall with little doors so I think it may have been some sort of relaxation room that allowed you do get food prepared in an adjoining room. I like to think that the patients in this ward used to sit in one of these chairs by the window eating a nice hot bowl of soup on a wintry day, looking outside at the snow on the ground.
This was the same room as I took Wednesday’s image. As I first walked into this room it was this suitcase, laying in a puddle in the middle of the floor, that first caught my eye.
There were a few of us moving around and lining up shots on this level so I had to move a few bits and pieces of camera gear/bags that people had put down, and wait for others to take their shots, and then wait a little longer for any disturbances made to the water from people passing through had all died down; then I was finally able to line up and take a couple of shots.
It was only after I had finished shooting the rest of the room (which was essentially just Wednesday’s image) and was on my way back out that I noticed this old sandal sitting on the floor. I decided to get behind it and take one last shot of the suitcase sat in the middle of the room and ensuring this old shoe was in the shot, but not as the focal point. I think it certainly adds a little to the scene and turned out better than the other shots I took that had nothing but the suitcase and reflections to look at.
It was pretty bright outside, and overcast, so though the middle window looks completely blown out that’s not terribly far from how it actually looked, which is a little annoying as a bit of blue sky, or a tree or something on the outside, would have been much nicer for the image than the huge mass of light that’s coming in.
Some of you may know of the Monty Hall paradox, a probability puzzle involving a game show host, three doors and a goat. If you don’t, check it out on Wikipedia.
Obviously this image has four doors rather than three, and all of them are open rather than closed – hence why I have used the word Variant in the title. Though, to be honest, the title of this post does just sound like it could be an episode of the The Big Bang Theory.
The shot is another from West Park which is the running theme throughout this week. I had such a good time there on Sunday and am really enjoying working through the brackets taken and picking out ones that I wish to process. I should be returning there again this weekend so will likely bore you with more of them…but I’ll try and get some variation into the posts at some point in the near future – perhaps I’ll dig into my shoebox over this weekend and pull out a nice non-HDR macro or similar to really shake things up.
I really like how the doors are open in this shot and the fact that each of them are casting a shadow which breaks up the otherwise quite light corridor. The shot itself was an unexpected treat. I knew this area didn’t go anywhere and we needed to take stairs at another part of this ward to get to where we wanted to; entry to this section was across a small beam of decaying wood where the rest of the floor had fallen in already, and one of our party managed to put his foot through a part of the floor that remained. After edging across that beam this was pretty much the only shot that was there, but I’m glad I went ahead and took it as I feel it turned out quite well.
Disappointingly there was no goat behind any of the doors.
I was pretty happy to stumble onto this corner of the asylum. An old bed with suitcases on it, a couple of doors to the left (though I cropped one out), some great textures in the peeling walls and that lovely green mess that was building itself up on the floor. It’s a scene I looked at and simply thought ‘I sure can work with this’.
I took a few different shots of this scene from different angles, but in the end I really liked it best just facing it straight on and without seeing what was in the corridor behind the door.
I’m really enjoying going through the images I took from this asylum last weekend. My trip certainly made up for the previous attempt there and I managed to get several great brackets. It’s a shame I couldn’t have seen it in it’s prime, and that it’s now being ripped down – but I’m arranging another trip back there in the near future to try and do a few more shots I have ideas for.
There are still more images to come from my last session though…
Yesterday I took another trip to West Park Asylum, and what a fun time was had by all.
The last time I went was in December; I had no sleep the night before after spending it on a London rooftop and climbing a crane, getting home in the very early hours and feeling it was better to simply not sleep in order to ensure I was awake in time to leave the house and catch a train. I spent the 2 hours or so I had spare watching Shutter Island – a fitting film to watch before visiting a former mental home. After a few hours on location though I was spotted and kindly asked to leave…I blame this on my tiredness.
Yesterday was very different. The place was pretty much wide open; groups of photographers wandered around seeing the remaining infamous sites; security was nowhere to be seen, and construction crew didn’t seem to care that we were there. As such we could wander around as much as we wanted, and this time I was able to view many things that I had missed the previous time.
One such item was the grand piano. I have seen images of this in the past and some people have taken excellent shots with this as the subject. I think the rose petals in the above image were the remains from the shots Nick Wild had taken a few weeks ago. As most of the shots feature the whole piano I certainly wanted to try and get a little of the detail and the bashed up keys with petals provided a perfect opportunity.
I’m really pleased with how this one has turned out, and was grateful to be able to return to such an awesome location and see many of the sights I missed previously.
This is the third image I have processed from the Creche at West Park. With each of them I seem to have a morbid fascination with the fact the area was designed for children who have long since gone. Hopefully they have all grown up to live happy and healthy lives, but with this location, and with the top floor of the Lillesden School for Girls, my imagination goes into overdrive and I think of ghosts, or a sense that the children have just disappeared rather than moved on, and that they haven’t changed at all, remaining as they are in these places rather than growing up. Not quite as jolly as Peter Pan, but that’s where my mind goes to.
My initial thoughts on this image were to add a blurred edge to the right hand side as I wanted the long, empty, decaying corridor to be somewhere that the viewer notices but doesn’t want to go. After playing with that for a while, however, it really wasn’t working and I needed something else that would give the same sense of a forbidden place that was cold and would only lead you to danger. So I abandoned the blur altogether and went for a reduction of colours to try and give the impression of coldness, and as if the corridor itself is dead.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this corridor is the kind of place I can imagine a Dementor gliding through, with all life and colour being zapped out of it as they work their way through it.
Unfortunately the lack of blur means that the focal point of the two soldiers is now lost a little to the corridor itself. They stand in warning, and I hope are urging the viewer to go no further down this path, but to take the left hand door way instead which is altogether a warmer and safer option.