We’re back to our roots here at The Hollow today, taking a look at an abandoned apartment building very near downtown Victoria, BC in Canada. I found this the other day when I was in town at an appointment. I darn near crinked my neck when I went past it; I knew it was a gem just waiting to be captured.
I carefully planned this shoot, as time is ever so short these days for Mrs. Toad and myself. Using my favorite little photographers friends, The Photographer’s Ephemeris, I was planning on being out front, shutter madly clicking, right around 2:15 PM. I arrived right on time, and set out to capture what I saw.
As I approached the building, an eery sense came over me almost immediately. Inbound for the shoot, I had my radio on and the local FM station was just in its news cycle. They were discussing a stabbing that had just taken place, not 10 minutes prior, and it was an active emergency scene with many officers on site. This was all happening just a few short blocks south, right downtown. This is not the best area to be in, but it was early in the afternoon, in broad daylight. I was sure everything was going to be fine.
I started to shoot. A couple came out the apartment to the right and walked right past me. So, far, so good. Why do I feel strange?
I am starting to notice some really great details that first caught my eye as I flew past this place a few short weeks ago. The bottom two floors are entirely boarded up. The top floor is not, but most of the windows are still intact. A few are broken. A close look reveals that there are still items in some of the suites upstairs. Too far away with not enough lens to do anything about that, photographically, but still it kind of struck me that whoever lived here before, left in a hurry.
The drape/towel is flinging itself wantonly out the window, like a lady of the evening in the Red Light District in Frankfurt. The windows here are open; not broken. Why? This is so strange to me.
The architecture is of a style I don’t know how to categorize. Perhaps anyone who visits who is familiar with architecture can leave us some comments about this? I believe it to be a fairly typical apartment facility for the time it was designed in, and even today it strikes a strong and commanding figure. Even if it is a hue of pink/salmon.
Overnight Parking & Sleeping Prohibited. Ya think? Sure, let’s go with that.
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the sign sitting against the wall there. One of those times that a picture can speak a thousand words; and in this case, some of those words are “irony” and “weird”.
This arch leads to the backyard area. It really has a great swooping line with a black detail and a fabulous knob at the top of the right post. It provided a peek-a-boo to the side, which apparently also serves as a place to store… junk, basically.
One last, must-have, shot. This was one of the key shots I came for. I love it. It’s almost an art-deco style doorway in the front, with just incredible railings the lead the eye right up to that wonderful entry. The street number has been painted over. Someone has expressed themselves by spray painting a blue heart. Signs of life, albeit slightly defiant.
I have no idea what fate has in store for this building. There are an alarming number of buildings of significant historic value that are now in this condition. I understand in some cases the owners find it to be more financially beneficial to board them up and leave them sit until the economy turns around. I get that. But, I also find it to be a gloomy statement on the current economic situation society in general finds itself in these days, and I can’t help but be drawn to photograph it. Some people like to photograph pretty girls; I like to photograph old, grungy buildings.
As the final click of the shutter echoed in the street, I heard some voices behind me. I turned to see four young men on the lawn across the street, and they were clearly performing some type of “business transaction”. I call that time to go.
As it turns out, the young man who was stabbed a few blocks south of here at pretty much the same time I was doing this shoot is fine. He had quite the nasty afternoon, and a pretty large crowd had formed down there, causing a bit of a disturbance. And with what was going on right across the street from me… these are all signs that the shoot is over, and it’s time to boogy on out.
On the way out, I stopped quickly at an abandoned motel I’ve shot before. The scuttlebutt on the street is it has only weeks left to live and I wanted to grab a few parting shots. This will be a subject for a post coming your way soon, so please do stay tuned.
And in the meantime, we thank you so very much to taking the time to visit today. Please feel free to leave us any comments you may have, we answer each and every one.