As I had heard, the abandoned buildings at Kings Park are a treasure trove of beauty within the layers of peeling paint, and fragments of time passed.
This photo-shoot took place, well, at the wrong location, ugh oh, road trip turned into mind trip…I found myself at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, and not Kings Park Psychiatric Center, which is the abandoned hospital I intended to explore.
So having exited at Crooked Hill Road in Brentwood, I just had to satiate my curiosity and find out what lay beyond the long tree lined road ahead.
At random locations, there were piles of concrete rubble; the kind from a building that’s time has been served. Perhaps most likely from man's intervention with heavy equipment that took down their existence.
Questioning this unusual sense of place and myself for being a voyeur, at first it seemed that the Pilgrim space was no longer occupied because of what seemed to be little activity and energy within the campus. Later I learned 14,000 patients were living here at its height!
With all the seemingly empty buildings looming on this vast acreage, there are still people here receiving Electric Shock Therapy and Lobotomies. It seems people have always been trying to make sense of even things they may not have fully understood, taking control over patients at their weakest.
Upon taking a few initial photographs, and the help of an aggravated man in a van, it became clear that the campus was an active facility, which did not allow for the continued opportunity to openly take photos.
Occupied, yet empty.
With some adjustments, my muse and newly appointed assistant and I tempered the photographic images to include a sense of distortion and altered reality within each photo - perhaps you will experience the discomfort of being where you didn’t belong as we did, or maybe its just the topic of ‘mental health’ that is uncomfortable. So, I hope the images are appreciated and it is with respect to all within the mental health care field and those in need of their care, that the austere grounds provided a backdrop for incorporating a mood of longing, detachment, and vulnerability. Strange too, how this took place two weeks after I visited an immediate member of my family under the care of a similar institution and undergoing a series of Electric Shock Therapy. Perhaps I found the need to process and figure out how the vital woman I once spent my childhood with could have found herself in this very situation.
Click here to read about Pilgrim Psychiatric Center