We forget how much school influences our growth. A place where we spend so much of our time as children interacting with others and being affected by the adults “teaching” us. I can only define this experience based on my own observations. It is a time that still haunts me and defines me. It was a terrific opportunity then that an abandoned school was discovered. Even though it was attached to a church, it had wonderful character for photography.
Since I had attended the same high school as my mother, I could relate to the age and oppressive institutional nature of this abandonment. New schools, like so many new buildings being constructed these days, have such an antiseptic and generic feeling. They lack character. Besides, isn’t that the mission of schools – to build character. This particular school was in a working class Slavic neighborhood in Cleveland. I’m sure the church next door helped enforce these principles of character development too!
I might sound a bit jaded in my discourse but school was never kind to me growing up. As a slightly pudgy, shy, closeted kid, I was always a target. I dreaded going to school. It wasn’t until attending university that freedom was born. But this did sensitize me to the world and empower an empathy that I feel transitions into my work. To me, school was a prison that my parents sent me. It was my personal gulag that couldn’t end soon enough. I served my time and now the world is a brighter place.