I grew up in a small village in New York, just outside the city, until I was finished with elementary school and moved around a bit. I can remember Summers where I would be gone for most of the day, doing something with my friends. We rode our bicycles everywhere, but we knew where we couldn’t go. I suppose it should be no surprise that my childhood fascination with abandoned places and weathered locations inspires me today.
My friends and I would ride our bikes by this old foundry a lot, and explore old industrial areas. There was a big expanse of nothing along side a grocery store that led to the railroad tracks that many of us used for transportation to get from the store to neighborhoods. I preface this with saying that none of us were bad kids, we were just curious and were testing boundaries, and often found adventure in oddly creative ways. One day my friend and I came up with this brilliant idea to go over to the railroad tracks and throw rocks at the passing trains. There was no hurting that train, but it seemed fun and like a release of energy, so we thought we were cool but not hurting anyone. Well, one day a state trooper pulled up and caught us gathering rocks and evidently someone saw us.
We were maybe 10 years old and scared out of our wits, the cop knew it. He got our names and talked about bringing us to our parents….we looked at each other and just about shit ourselves, lol! He asked us, are you ever going to do this again? We both simultaneously said “no way sir!” And looked at us…..what seemed like an hour of silence was maybe 5 seconds, and he said, get the hell out of here and don’t ever let me see you doing anything like this again, do you understand me? Once again, we both simultaneously said “yes sir” and we were gone in a flash. That lesson stuck with both of us. We are Facebook friends to this day, and although there is no more rock throwing, there is definitely exploration. I get my photos and leave things as I found it, that good karma is working so far. Even today, I still like to piece together what the place was used for and what life was like when it was in operation or inhabited. Never losing that childhood fascination with abandoned places and sense of creativity / imagination is an artist’s best asset.