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 Post subject: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Warren, PA
Came across a photography gallery in Asheville, NC - downtown - featuring the photography of a Walter Arnold. He focuses on some incredibly high-resolution, deep-saturated, metal-surfaced prints quite unlike anything I've seen before - and all on locations, artifacts, etc. that have been abandoned and have deteriorated into what becomes rather evocative art. And rathe haunting.

http://walterarnold.photoshelter.com/archive

He's done at least one railroad vehicle - the Coney Island 983 car:

http://walterarnold.photoshelter.com/ga ... VaETzfBkI/

And check out the St. Nicholas Coal Breaker with the Reading Anthricite logos:
http://walterarnold.photoshelter.com/ga ... CcpTl4oEM/

Having seen situations like this all over the US (EBT!!), it occurred to me that a cooperative art print might actually work as a fundraiser, or a rather incredible 'before' photo. Or inspire your own groups to imitate. But certainly a different media and approach to regarding a huge problem as an inspiration. Maybe something to do BEFORE you start restoration.

You really can't appreciate the final print results unless you see them firsthand. It's quite a technology and he uses low-light in an extraordinary fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:18 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
Posts: 323
Location: western Maryland
He could have a field day at just about any railroad museums back lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
As much as many of these "art works" may actually be attractive, fascinating, and whatnot, it's been my personal experience that these photographers often operate without permission or sanction from the owners of their subjects. On at least two occasions I've witnessed such bullheaded behavior by photographers who felt so "entitled" to engage in their creative photography that police were called in--and this was on an active property where the photographers should have known better if they had only possessed any common sense! I've become of the impression that the only way these photos are coveted is if the photographer gains illegal access to the property in question--and, of course, the current "craze" for such "urban explorer" photography thus prompts more people to trespass, endangering themselves, the property/artifacts, and the financial health of the owner if someone injures or kills themselves and lawsuits follow.

Further, the depiction (rightly or wrongly) of disused rail equipment or structures, often technically "preserved," as derelict or abandoned does little to foster good relations with neighbors of rail museums, storage sidings, and the like. When the "NIMBYs" show up at the local government meeting waving these photos as "proof" that your facility is "a bunch of run-down, ramshackle junk being illegally stored," what then?


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:49 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:31 pm
Posts: 236
I’m sorry, but I have no use for this type of Photography.

As recent as four weeks ago I had a group of “photographers” cut the lock off a steel pipe gate, drive into my property and proceed to cut the locks off two different buildings.

The ringleader of the group tried to explain that they were only there to make photographs of a “bunch of unused equipment and junk”……. I guess they missed the current calendars hanging on the walls, or the fact that the electric was still on in both buildings, or the fact that the Kenworth Tuck had been washed & waxed for a car show the day before and was spotless, or the fact that the Mack R model only had a week’s worth of dust on it….

I’m lucky that a passer-by noticed them cutting the gate lock and called the law and then me. The whole group has been charged with a couple of different charges and now both buildings have both fire and burglary alarm systems that are monitored 24/7……


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
As with most things, it's not reasonable to paint all participants with the same broad brush.

Yes, "Urban Exploration" is currently a fad among photogs. Yes, it usually involves trespassing. Yes, this artist has a gallery with that title.

However, he also has some subjects which I am pretty certain have public tours. Do we condemn all of his work based on the fact that at least some of it involved trespass?

Also, while many photographers who are in on the fad realize these photos often involve trespass, the general public probably doesn't.

As an example, the reply about folks breaking into a facility to take photos of vintage trucks. Let's say I had contacted you and asked for permission. Maybe I promised you some 8" x 10" photos, or offered $50 for your trouble or whatever.

Now compare the (purely hypothetical) images I obtained legally with the ones the trespassers were hoping to obtain illegally. Looking at the photos, could you tell the difference?


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
Great work. Rust porn has gained a huge following.

I've shot some of the same places he has, with permission. No reason to believe the photog in this case was perpetrating criminal activity. Assuming all photogs are into trespassing, destruction of property, etc. wouldn't be prudent. There are all types out there... the hardcore urbanex types are just one part of what has become a major trend.

For my own interest, a lot of the "popular" spots are over-shot. I am interested in perspectives on new things. When I start recognizing that same tattered couch or dropped glove across dozens of photog's work it gets boring. Just like shots of heritage units on Rockville Bridge. After the 50th, they are all the same.

I think I know where this thread will head... I do enjoy comments about trespassing in any railfan forum. Sanctimony and unintentional humor usually follow. It is hard to find one of us who has never crossed that line... whether it's along the railroad right of way, poking around an "off limits" section of a museum, or other unsanctioned activity.

But of course, living in glass roundhouses doesn't stop anyone from casting the first staybolt.

Rob

PS: My personal experience taught me years ago that the most vocal anti-trespassing railroad photographers were also the worst offenders. They seemed to have their own opinion of what "permission" meant. Some - not naming names, but knowing exactly who - managed to singlehandedly turn many railfan-friendly shops and yards into off limit zones. Things like removing blue flags and sneaking into cabs to turn on class lights are generally frowned upon, but that didn't stop said photogs from preaching. Good times.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:31 pm
Posts: 236
Bob:

I understand what your saying and agree with you to a point, but right now the sting of my whole incident is still very fresh. Sure if they asked first, I may of given them access but it was and still is their attitude towards their trespass that burns my butt.

Sorry, but the "we were just making photographs and not hurting anybody" just doesn't hold water with me.

Their lawyer believes that replacing the locks and chains his client cut warrants me dropping all complaints against her and her friends, I don't see that happening.

Maybe if more property owners took the hard line against this art-form, The illegal trespass portion of it may become just a passing fad for the artists.

Tim W.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:31 pm
Posts: 236
I'll apologize for my rant and for taking the tread off topic......

Tim W.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
YeOldeEnjine wrote:
I'll apologize for my rant and for taking the tread off topic......

Tim W.


Your experience went beyond any acceptable level of trespassing (if there is a such a thing) straight to vandalism. It is a cautionary tale of the extreme lengths people will go - and the laws they will break.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Look at how this photog labels some of the things. He labelled an airplane as an 'abandoned airplane graveyard' in Pensacola when in fact it's the back storage area for the USN aiviation museum. Hardly abandoned...

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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
robertjohndavis wrote:
YeOldeEnjine wrote:
I'll apologize for my rant and for taking the tread off topic......

Tim W.


Your experience went beyond any acceptable level of trespassing (if there is a such a thing) straight to vandalism. It is a cautionary tale of the extreme lengths people will go - and the laws they will break.

Rob


I totally agree. Would I ever trespass on railroad property to get a good photo? Why, um, err, well... Hey, how's the 4014 project going?

Would I ever even consider cutting locks to enter property? Not only no, but hell no! That is above and beyond. Heck, even if I don't care about the place I'm trespassing, I wouldn't do it out of fear for my own safety.

If I'm caught trespassing, I might be able to plead ignorance, talk my way out of it, (I just wanted a picture, not hurting anything...) but if the police find me with burglary tools in my possession and a cut lock, I'm guessing the only talking I'm going to be doing will be on my one phone call to my lawyer from jail. So it's downright stupid, no matter how you feel about the place you're entering.

I did NOT, at all, intend to imply your rant wasn't justified. I only meant that people should not look at a photo and jump to conclusions about whether or not it was legally obtained. Don't paint us all with the same brush, that's all I'm asking...


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1047
Location: Youngstown, OH
Absolutely do NOT drop the charges! They committed burglary, and what would have happened after they left and your buildings were left wide opened and unsecured? The fact that serious damage was not done does not absolve them from the responsibility of creating conditions where serious damage could have been done by someone else coming after them.

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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:31 pm
Posts: 236
Quote:
I did NOT, at all, intend to imply your rant wasn't justified. I only meant that people should not look at a photo and jump to conclusions about whether or not it was legally obtained. Don't paint us all with the same brush, that's all I'm asking...[/quote]


Point well taken,Mr. Harbison. Thank You!

Tim W.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 663
Location: MA
I do urbexing all the time but I never brake and enter. I asked at a certain railroad museum if they would consider letting these people in to take photos but they weren't open to the idea. Also I love how other volunteers talk about all the drugs and alcohol they did when they were my age and how fun it was but god forbid I talk about a old abounded mental hospital I explored because thats trespassing and that is wrong and shows I'm responsible.


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 Post subject: Re: Art of Abandonment
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:48 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Once an "artist" cuts a lock, he or she is a criminal. I believe it's what the lawyers call a prima facie case. Just wandering into a location, especially if no "No Trespassing" signs are visible, makes it more arguable. If someone says "Hey! This is private property! Get out of here!" and the trespasser ignores the order or tells the person to "stuff it", it becomes less arguable. And yes, most of us have "visited" railroad property without official permission at one time or another.

(I tried to load a photo taken inside the UP Cheyenne roundhouse in Sept. 1971, but it was over 350 kb. I hope the statute of limitations has expired by now)

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