Last Saturday afternoon, Thomas Hawk gathered a few photographers, and one model, together.
We were meeting for a late afternoon of shooting.
If you aren’t interested in photography it might be hard to understand …
Shooting with other (fun, nice!) photographers is like spending a day at Disneyland when you’re a kid.
I found myself, late in the afternoon, standing outside a very large (gigantic!) boring-looking building as Thomas introduced me to a few of his friends.
After introductions, we exchanged surreptitious glances around for security or police.
Hushed voices said, “This way!” and “Shhh!”
In seconds we had rounded a corner of the building,
One person, (presumably experienced in such things?), assessed a few boarded up windows and promptly chose one –
Hypothetically (ahem) breaking into the building within milliseconds.
A photographer slipped through the narrow, rectangular opening.
Backpacks and cameras were quickly handed through the narrow opening. Then, one by one, we crawled through the window as quickly as possible.
A millisecond after the last of us was inside, the board was expertly put back against the window.
No one would be able to tell it was no longer nailed tightly closed.
(Including us, as it turns out!)
The interior of the abandoned building was a maze of empty hallways and rooms, and more empty hallways and rooms.
Broken glass was everywhere.
The boring exterior of the building held no clue to the bright, colorful, interior.
At some point the long hallways led to a circular ramp.
Graffiti – a photographer’s paradise!
I was like a kid in a candy store. So many colors! So many shapes! So many photo opportunities!
Obviously, we were not even close to being the first people to enter the abandoned building.
The multi-level ramp circled around an open, outdoor, rotunda.
(Is it still called a rotunda if it has no ceiling?)
Model, Charli Blake, prepares for a photo shoot – surrounded by broken glass and discarded junk.
There was a lot of THIS going on over the next couple hours:
Thomas Hawk shooting from the roof.
Thomas Hawk again – !
It was so much fun! I took SO many photos.
When the sun set, about two hours later, everyone prepared to do some night shooting.
I had worn Nike out by this point though, so we left early.
Thankfully, the other photogs decided to escort us out with their flashlights.
As soon as we moved into the interior of the building, away from the rotunda, we were greeted with pitch dark, absolute, blackness.
The maze of hallways and rooms …?
Well, they really were a maze.
Up one hallway, and down another. Into one room and then into another ….
We kept trying to find “the room” we had entered with “the window” someone had broken into.
Did you know everything looks the same in total, absolute, darkness?
(Especially empty hallway after empty hallway, and abandoned room after abandoned room.)
I expected a giant rat with big pointy,misaligned (!!), teeth to appear, but it never did. (We were lost in a designated rodent-free, abandoned, building.)
If I had been alone, I would have been scared to death.
Surely this place would be the perfect hide-out for a one-eyed ax murderer?!
(Who is so much scarier than a TWO-EYED ax murderer, of course!!)
However, with this group of people …
I found the whole we’re-lost-in-the-abandoned-building-we-broke-into situation hilarious.
I knew we would eventually figure it out.
(Well, I knew someone would figure it out – not me! I have NO sense of direction, whatsoever!)
I also knew, if we couldn’t find the room and window where we entered –
The same someone who broke IN to the building would just have to break us OUT of it.
We traipsed up and down hallways and in and out of rooms over and over.
Eventually, we found our way out. (I think Thomas gets the credit for that!)
The board was placed back on the window, without any evidence of having ever been removed, within seconds of my departure with Nike.
(The rest of our group stayed inside and went right back to shooting.)
By the way,
Have I mentioned …?
Charli Blake is beautiful!
Photo: Charli Blake
The entire adventure took less than three hours – but oh, what fun!