Friday, January 20, 2012

Who Was That Masked Man Anyways?


Any good story has a good beginning, an intro that hooks the reader. As I write this on the border of 3 A.M, I don't really have a "hook." I don't really have an angle. When I looked through the batch of photos I was about to post here, I realized that they made no cohesive sense. They don't really relate to each other in any particular way and I forgot to add three that I really liked. I'd go back and add them, but it'll be three past midnight in less than five minutes so I'll convince myself I never really liked the photographs in the first place and it'll become a non-issue in the morning when I'm waiting for my car to defrost or as I watch the news in the elevator.

For the past four years, I've been trying to rationalize why I started this website or what its theme and focus is. Sometimes it's history, sometimes it's about adventures in recreational trespassing and on occasion I throw in some political diatribe amongst a plethora of other things. Over the year, its been influenced by a lot. Queen City Discovery is a collection of photographs I've take in life and shared. When I go back and read things from the first days, I often think: "Wow, what a douchebag (just as I'll probably think when I re-read this post in a few years)." There's a difference between something like QC/D and a high school Xanga site though - to me, this site actually means something. I like sharing these photographs, I like to think that someone out there appreciates them in the same way I do and that maybe one day some reader will realize there was someone who felt the same way they do whether it be about photography or life.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I enjoy photography, I enjoy writing and I enjoy making this site. However, please realize that the content of a still photograph and the reason why it was made can often be more meaningful for some people than the words they speak or write. The 32 photographs contained here; the first post in months, the first post of 2012 - aren't pulitzer prize winning material or examples of high art. Just what I felt like sharing.

So with that "hook" established, it's time to start where the story of how I got to this point in 2012 begins... in Indianapolis:

- The abandoned Bush Stadium in Indianapolis.

I'm in Indianapolis, standing in the parking lot of an abandoned baseball stadium. It's a place I photographed and featured here before. Ryan Texas Ranger and I had just left a WWE Raw event (we all have our guilty pleasures, don't hate). My summer is almost over. Why do I still have summers? Because I'm still in school. I thought it would be tough seeing all these people around me graduate college at the time I was supposed to. Life changes though and I didn't really care that a lot of them were graduating. All I knew was that I had bills to pay and more class coming up. I didn't shoot many photographs over the summer, at least not many that weren't at work. I regret that, I really do. With another school semester coming up, I vowed to shoot more - update the site more - write more.

I didn't.

I tried, but I didn't really.

I drove out to the airport overlook one night and tried shooting some photos out there.


But nothing really came of it. With my seasonal job coming to a close, some friends and I decided to go to Chicago like we had last year. A year ago, that trip provided some major inspiration for me. I figured it was a good idea to go again.


It was. I had a great time as we experienced the "occupy" movements in both Gary, IN and Chicago, IL.


This time though, things were different. We stayed at an actual nice hotel that didn't have cops in the parking lot and passed on the observation deck of the Hancock Tower for the nice, sit down restaurant up there.



At Navy Pier, we rode the ferris wheel with the faded MacDonalds logos. It's on a tourist trap pier and nowhere near as exciting as the 14 year old me in my memory made it out to be.


As my friends shopped on the Magnificent Mile, I walked around clandestinely taking street photographs ala Garry Winnogrand.









The Chicago trip was a good time. $11 Long Island Iced Teas at the hotel bar, ferris wheels and rooftop restaurants though aren't as fun as beers at the sketchy motel 6, Red Line rides and observation decks like the year before. I felt a re-newed sense of person in my photography, a direction I wanted to go in. The stuff I shot for school or freelance jobs was uninspiring, purely mechanical and often hastily bullshitted in order to complete an assignment on time. Between work and school assignemnts, I hardly got out to photograph unique things like UAW Hall Amateur wrestling.



Time goes on though. One seasonal job ended and I started working at a bread specialty restaurant in Kenwood. Co-Workers were fantastic, customers not so much. Some would say stereotypes exist for a reason and you'd be more apt to believe that logic as well if you worked at a restaurant in Kenwood. Not saying everyone in Kenwood is a jerk, but to the nice folks: your neighbors aren't doing your reputation any favors. Nor is your abandoned suburban skyscraper:


I eventually had a break through from the stagnation of my life that had become working through the weekends, lots of beer on sunday evenings and waking up in the afternoon on Mondays. I had moved out of my house about a year ago, but just recently the rest of my immediately family left.

I wrote a book about it.


And chronicled how it had gone from being my home to an abandoned building...


More on that later.


Eventually, I found myself on a monorail at Jungle Jims.



And back at Arnold's where the pro-streetcar campaign once again defeated a special interest group hell-bent on stopping progress within the city of Cincinnati.


My childhood home isn't the only abandoned thing I've photographed though. From industrial parks that look like the ruins of Stalingrad..


.. to hotels ...



... to waterpark boneyards ...


... and some other stuff, when the time is right:


Soon, I'll have more to share about the #224Cincy project I've been alluding to on Facebook and Twitter.


I'm back. I mean it this time.


This post is dedicated to longtime reader and friend: Sophia Z


  1. Welcome back! There was a true void in my heart at least. Your new shots are really amazing and show your progession as an artist and professional.

    The teaser photos got me really excited. Always look forward to more!

  2. Thanks, good to be back. Lots of cool stuff coming up.

    In terms of Urban Exploration - shooting somewhere saturday night that will re-define the term "zombie apocalypse."

  3. Great stuff as always.

    It sucks when the nostalgia doesn't live up to the expectations of the present. As you age this becomes all too true.

    I grew up in Cincy (Mt. Healthy/Colerain), haven't lived there in years. Every time I go back I expect it to be the same as it was, cruising with friends or just hanging out in the pub. It never is the same and it will never be. Time and life go on even when all you want is for it to stop just for a minute. I think your pictures of where I've lived or got married or just places I've always wanted to go, keep that nostalgia burning inside of me and allow me to be young again.

    Thank you and please keep up the good work.

  4. dude, awesome photos, as always, but the street photography is the real standout! did you convert them to black and white? the conversion is perfect! the bridal part, in particular really catches my eye. if you happened to talk to them, i bet they would love that photo. i'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  5. JLaFary, thank you. Amen to the nostalgia aspect. It's been happening a lot lately. I'm glad you enjoy the blog and appreciate the comment.

    Destroy Alkalanine, thanks man! Unfortunately I didn't talk to the bridal folks and didn't even realize I had made that photograph until I was well on my way back to the loop on the train. I did turn them to black and white in post processing. I just checked out your blog, I know I've seen it before and it's wonderful. Have you and I met before? You seem oddly familiar.

  6. Your work continues to improve with each story, and I look forward to hearing about crystal drive.

  7. thanks for the compliment! i really appreciate that! i'm not sure if we've met or not. some of my work is available at Joseph Williams home and i've seen some of yours there as well. i usually hang out in OTR so maybe you've seen me around the area? i wonder if we have some mutual friends.

  8. Really glad you're back, Gordon.

    PS: I love zombies

  9. Don't feel pressure to post on a regular basis. I enjoy your pictures, when and if they come. They don't have to be perfect but, I can't say I've ever said to myself, "why did he post this." I enjoy seeing pictures of our city, from it's best side to it's worst and forgotten.

    Thanks for sharing your work.

  10. I have a thick skid...and I'm not even from Cincy!