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In Camera: ‘Awakening’

It’s no secret that photographers like abandoned places: They’re filled with a drama, a decay, a spooky half-life that make them compelling settings and subjects for pictures.  Clarence John Laughlin, who knew a thing or two about these “lost” structures, called them “psychological and poetic documents.”

Speaking from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, a dilapidated building with cracked and peeling paint offers unique textures and character — no two buildings fall apart the same way, after all — and placing a human figure in the frame adds another dimension entirely.

This photograph, which plays off the above assumptions, was completely unplanned.  I was going to explore an old building and invited a friend to come along, thinking she might find the place interesting. When she walked in front of the space between these two doors, the light reflecting off her white shirt created a halo around her. I explained to her what I had seen and asked her if she would get undressed and stand in front of the doors (fortunately, she had modeled for me before and didn’t hesitate.)

I shot a few frames, giving her very little direction; then she got dressed and we left.

‘In Camera’ looks weekly through the lens of a fashion, fine art, fashion and portrait photographer. More about the artist can be found at


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