it’s easy to only focus on the sadness inherent in an old derelict building like teton.
when you know the misery in the history of a asylum, and you see
only the ruins of what it once was, you sometimes become blinded
by the macabre and morose, by thwarted hopes and unchecked corruption.
if this is all you see – in an abandoned building, in your own life, in the world around you
it’s easy to feel that perhaps it would be best to erase it all, to hide everything away
so deep that it can’t encroach upon your fleeting comforts and contentment.
but, in this place where such terrible, tragic things occurred
there is something else that resides there – sometimes in the brilliant green ivy
that works its way into cracks and crevasses the way lovers’ fingers entwine,
sometimes in the softness of the wind, or the stillness of untouched afternoon sunlight – or
the way gravity welcomes the falling rafters back to the earth and time
absolves its past in the oblivion of unmolested sleep. teton had such beauty – in
the sincerely charitable ambitions that built it, in the graceful forms of its architect’s true design,
in the naive hope of the many who genuinely believed it could bring a cure for the ill,
and in those confined who stole friendships and dignity from the greedy hands of
disgrace and neglect. if you can’t see these things, you’ll never understand why i do what i do.
photographs capture slivers of time. they preserve a point of view, a moment
that would otherwise be forever lost. if you seek truth through them,
maybe you can illuminate the soul of a thing, and maybe show someone else
the proud glory and splendor of the forgotten and forsaken.
the triumphs and frailties of human endeavor may now be heard only in echoes,
but i guarantee you if you are quiet and you listen
you will hear not screams of agony and anguish, but the sweet serenity of final release.
if you approach the past with humility and reverence in your heart you’ll realize that
immortality is not something anyone can ever capture – but if you are very lucky,
through a photograph perhaps you may capture a glimpse,
a fleeting moment of something that, in its own abstract and inexplicable way,
proves beyond a doubt that nothing ever dies.
photo taken at teton state hospital
more of my work is on www.abandonedamerica.org
please check out my new book, filled with photos and text – the link is on my site’s main page!