Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Belchertown State School

I was very busy photographing this weekend. Between the Dismas Fall Festival and this excursion to Belchertown State School, there was quite a variety in the scenes I was photographing this weekend. This was my first time using my new Canon 60D with 18-135mm lens and it was such a treat! I am very excited to be able to work with this camera in the future!

Belchertown State School for the Feeble Minded was not really a school but more of a place to separate those with mental disabilities from the rest of society. Known for its horrific treatment of the residents, the school was finally closed in 1992. The buildings have deteriorated quickly and are quite spooky, making it a great place for new photographers!

By far my favorite photo from the shoot! I love this one for the multiple layers in foreground, middle ground and back ground. The top third of the photo with the rows of chairs really makes the photograph.

This is the hallway next to the auditorium. This photo gives me the sense that the school was left in a hurry with the doors left open and the ladder in the hall. Trash and furniture litter the buildings at Belchertown and really add to the feeling of abandonment. I originally printed this photo in color but it was much much more successful in B&W. 

I didn't feel that this one came out well enough to print for class but I felt it was worth posting here. Water was dripping through the ceiling and onto my lens. I tried to edit it out for this photo with only limited success. I love the windows that look out on nothing and the plant growth inside of the room. I would like to try this photo in black and white but I suppose then you would lose the plants taking back the room.

Originally underexposed, I did my best to make this photo come back to life. I shot without a tripod and so had to use short shutter speeds. Luckily this building had many holes in the roof so some light was available for shooting. The colors are my favorite part about this photo. The room  and floor itself are so dreary but the graffiti, plant growth and moss bring the photo to life by adding so much color.

This photo was taken in the same room facing away from the stage. Through the center door is how most people enter this building. We actually found our way in through another way and happened upon the auditorium which really added to our sense of wonder as we explored the rooms. The graffiti really gives Belchertown its character.

Part of the power plant building. I love the eye bearing witness to the abandonment and neglect of Belchertown. This history of the school is so eerie and it is as if this eye bears witness to it all. 

We weren't sure but I think these are the residential buildings. The school once house about 750 people and was extremely overcrowded. I can't imagine how many people they tried to fit in these small buildings. Like closed eyes the two windows look over the school grounds, while getting swallowed up in the overgrowth of time.

We believed this to be the laundry building. A pile of trash and discarded objects lies in front of this building. Paper face masks litter the path in front of this building as people exit surrounding buildings filled with asbestos, dust and mold. 

A small greenhouse was also on the grounds. Completely overgrown you cannot tell what they once grew there.

Although this is not such a great photograph, I was impressed with what my new camera could accomplish. This gymnasium is in the basement of the building with no light entering the room at all. The flash alone on my camera was able to light up the other side of the basketball court and revealed to us this graffiti.

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