Date of Visit: December 22, 2012
There's a reason why I don't reveal much information about the places I photograph. It's because, Bastards.
I have genuine love for these old structures, and a fascination for the stories they can tell me. When I go to a new location, I research as much as I can about it. I have reams of useless information about defunct corporations and the people who built them and the forces that destroyed them. As I've mentioned before, I'm obsessed with the concept of impermanence: that something that obviously meant so much to so many people can end up meaning nothing in the end. But as long as these buildings still stand, there is something to remember them by. Something to make people stop and wonder - who worked there and what did they do in that factory? As long as they stand...
But there are a lot of Bastards out there in this world - mostly male, mostly young. They don't share my love and fascination for these places. They see them as playgrounds for mindless destruction and greed: walls upon which to spray paint their ugly scribbles; porcelain fixtures to shatter; furniture to tear apart and topple over; ornamentation, signs and equipment to steal and sell on Ebay. Revealing too much information only provides these Bastards with new playgrounds for destruction.
And then there are the worst Bastards of them all: the arsonists. Sometimes fires in abandoned buildings are caused by homeless people who set a fire to keep warm that got out of control. Those are awful, but they are somewhat understandable. But the ones that are deliberately set? They infuriate me more than anything.
Such was the case a few years ago when two teenage Bastards broke into an old factory and set it on fire. An old factory that had stood in its place for over 100 years. Which at its peak of production in the 50's employed more than 4,000 people. A historic structure that may have stood empty for over 30 years, but which still held memories and hopes for reuse for the population of the small town in which it stood.
And in the flick of a match, two Bastards decided their idea of fun night mattered more than the memories and hopes of the people in their town.
Over 50% of the factory was destroyed that night. There are still some things to see there, but nothing like what it once was.
I wish I'd had the chance to see it Before. But I am grateful I at least had the chance to see a little of what was left After.