I remember a late afternoon in early to mid December, walking my dogs to the mail dropbox a mile from my house. I texted my friend Jerry Winnett and said something like “Shit in a hat, I’m half a mile from home and on foot, and it’s raining” Later that day, December 11, 2016 to be specific, I heard the news about a local East Nashville church fire. Mid afternoon, about the time I was maybe two blocks away walking the dogs, the first fire was reported in basement level, and the fire department thought it was extinguished with minimal damage. Then several hours later, the whole church was ablaze and sadly, by then it was too late. The Eastminster Presbyterian Church became the burnt down East Nashville church that was no more.
The portable fencing was down, and this seemed like an opportune time for my friend Jerry Winnett and I to start here, on our abandoned building photo outing we do occasionally. The circumstances are sad, but both of us love to show people the character of a damaged and forgotten structure that will inevitably be razed. The antique sewing machine seemed like a random thing next to the building.
One thing Jerry and I talked about, the outside of abandoned or damaged buildings is always interesting. But the real character and test of the photographer’s ability is getting photos of the inside. I’ve photographed many abandoned buildings alone, but this was probably the worst shape building I’ve been inside. We both felt it was prudent to not go this one alone. It’s a completely different feel when inside one of these buildings.
The hanging electrical wires, broken and burned boards, the smell of burnt wood, nails, broken glass, there isn’t a safe spot in the building. Which is why they don’t want people in it. The feel of the wet air, wind, sound of crunching boards as you walk. feel of the broken boards and ashes under your feet as you try to keep your footing. All part of the experience. You really have to know the feel of what is under your feet and pick your battles wisely when inside. Part of making it a successful photo outing is knowing when it’s time to get out. Feeling the energy is what helps me get the most dramatic photos.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos of a once active community landmark. Now a piece of history, being a burnt down East Nashville church. Wishing the best to the leadership and congregation. Beauty and character still exists in it’s state of distress.