Back to School

It is late august, everyone is going back to school.

I gaze out the window as I cruise down the highway, but I am not going back to school this time. Instead I am driving to an old school tucked away in the suburbs of an old mining town in Pennsylvania.

Originally set to be opened in 1918, this 3-story stone school served as a makeshift annex for the local hospital during an outbreak of the flu in 1919. The school then served as a high school until it was replaced with a newer facility in 1986. This school sat abandoned for years just waiting to be demolished until the current owner purchased the building. This dedicated and enthusiastic owner has worked tirelessly to restore the front of the building along with the aid of the community in hopes of one day turning this old school into a community center for all. 

We entered through the front doors of the building and were greeted with the familiar, cool and musty smells of ancient basement air. We were shown around the building, including the gym with weathered floors, the auditorium with light filtering through green windows, and several classrooms with chalkboards ready for classes that will not be in session. 

The highlight of the day was shooting in the old auditorium. The light pouring through the green tinted windows inspired some moody self portraits. 

I continued to work on my "Daydream" series here as well.. 

The old gymnasium also had amazing light, and the combination of the weathered basketball court and ball were the prefect setting.

The track above the gym offered some amazingly soft light filtering through dusty frosted glass while the crumbling plaster and exposed brick offered a painterly background. 

Lastly, an old classroom was the final setting for my self-portraits. Books, composition notebooks, and an old No. 2 pencil were left scattered on a desk in front of a chalkboard still adorned with long-gone class assignments. 

Please note that this building is privately owned and parts of it are still occupied by the owners business. I was granted permission to shoot here, so please respect the rights of the owner so he will allow other artists to shoot in this gorgeous building in the future. 

Jesse  taking a photo from centre stage 

Jesse taking a photo from centre stage 

More to come,