So back in 2000, this wonderful building became available as a setting. I had noticed it many times in the past since it was close to a popular restaurant. I loved its architectural style. Like so many buildings in the city its abandoned status caused concern. Then suddenly, makeshift barriers and fencing went up and crews began to work on restoration.
Considering that downtown was usually devoid of people after about 6pm in those days, there wasn’t much attempt to guard the building. Fencing was wide open and so were the doors. I knew I had a limited opportunity.
I quickly contacted two of my models. They had worked with me before at another abandoned factory site and were well aware of my love of old structures. Describing the Hartman only confirmed their interest.
And they were quite fearless in the face of such an open and accessible site. During the window shot above, the model laughed when he noticed a man at street level below staring at him. He gradually wandered off, perhaps thinking he’d seen a glorious apparition.
Initially I shot each separately. There were plenty of wonderful spaces to visually explore. And since they were currently dating, combined shots were an easy transition.
One of the guys had a significant dance and gymnastic background. Simple gestures and movements lead to many terrific captures. While checking out the ground floor, he hopped up on the bannister of the stairs folding his figure into a ballet-like shape. Turning to see this, I gasped. “I suppose you want me naked for this?” he asked. I almost laughed. Quickly stripping, posed for this shot. I admired his steely will as Sunday traffic passed by the open door about ten feet away!
The Hartman was built at the turn of the century by a local businessman who hawked a snake oil called Peruna. The building was actually a sort of health resort where one could get “cured” of their ailments with hefty doses of Peruna. At one point, there was even an attached theatre.
In spite of the bare nature of the building, remains of a bank and a wonderful top-floor ballroom added to the unique quality of this space. A month later, the structure was finally secured. It’s now condos with a few scattered businesses on the ground floor. Another perfect moment captured.