Monday, April 14, 2014

The Ball Game

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: There is little left at Pennhurst to tell of the way lives were lived there. Though in the last of the three buildings I visited, there was enough furniture remaining to distinguish or characterize areas that might have been rooms, wards, lounges and labs. Beds were sparsely distributed where once they must have crowded the floor. Some of my colleagues wore face masks to block mold, but the old stanch has faded with time, and earplugs aren't needed anymore. I worked in solitude among large lounge chairs and sofas of inhuman rectilinearity. Moldy hulks with no crevices to lose your keys, no place for dust bunnies to roost. They were unmoving presences like an alien life form waiting to resume conversation. 

In another lifetime between then and now, it seemed, the buildings had been the handiwork of vandals who painted their own graffiti shrieks through the abandoned halls, and some of the walls were gardens of mold. I found myself constantly photographing the windows and thinking of the people confined in these rooms always wanting to look out, and yet all the views at Pennhurst continually look back in.