There have been many instances where timing is essential. This old power plant had been empty for years, brick crumbling, pipes rusting. Then suddenly it became the center of activity with crews working to remove the old machinery. I wasn’t sure whether this spelled the end of the building or new life but I knew I had to act. Luckily I had a model willing to take the risks and seize the adventure!
I was only able to squeeze 2 sessions into the space due to its high visibility and activity levels. The first was mainly a scouting trip. Sneaking in through an open construction entrance with nothing more than my phone camera, I was able to get a lay of the land. The second session finally utilized the model. It was a guerrilla maneuver to get myself, my model and spotter inside, but well worth it. The building was beautiful. Constructed as Columbus’ first power plant almost a century ago, the building was an amazing mass of rusting structures, pipes, boilers and gauges.
It was distinctly difficult to maintain cleanliness in this place. Either you were covered with rust or soot. But the history and the solitary figure were my primary goals. I think that I’ve always sought out the singular figure as a thematic standard. The loneliness of an individual, nude and unprotected, in these spaces that harken great danger – there’s a tangible symbolism that rings true.
This was also a great learning experience for me. Working in a very dangerous place with difficult lighting, it was truly a method to practice for future scenarios. It was also demanding as it was not merely an abandoned location, but one that was in the process of demolition. Patrols by police and construction crews were always in the back of my mind. So speed was essential. We got in and out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this also meant the loss of several image options. You always think of the shot you could have made after everything is done. Again, it helped shape future shoots.
The oldest part of the building has become an arts and antiques auction house soon to open to the public. A newer section, built in the ’50’s, will be completed later this year. I’m happy that the city actually salvaged this building, especially one with such significance. And I’m also happy to have made this location my first true industrial capture!