4 people. 4 Photographers. 2 models. 3 different states. We all meet to explore an abandoned section of Northwestern New Jersey.
My partners for this adventure:
The day started out with us visiting an abandoned homestead/ranch that myself and Jennie have previously explored. The site has been abandoned for some time, and although it is located just off the main road, it has somehow avoided vandalism. A beautiful home with white walls that haven't been yet soiled as a canvas for frustrated teenagers...this is rarity in New Jersey, especially up north.
Kayla set up her tripod, stripped down, and posed for a few shots. It's always interesting how open everybody in the art world is with each other. A certain level of trust is created by first impressions, the quality of your work, and those who you associate yourself with.
After she achieved the image she was working on, I was itching to show then the shed out back. This shed houses a bed surrounded by shelves with old cans, cleaning supplies, and old farming equipment.
After shooting this room from inside, we decided we'd to run to the other side and shoot through this conveniently dirty old window that we couldn't have asked for in our wildest photographer dreams.
While shooting here, something terrifying happened. A large black SUV pulled in while Jennie and Kayla were undressed and in the shed. My heart stopped. Here I am in the middle of nowhere with two people that I convinced to travel a long away to adventure with me, only to disappoint them. To give the girls some time to get dressed before they had to face another disgruntled owner (or the Police), I walked out of the shed and approached the vehicle, making sure my camera was visible.
Inside the SUV there was an older couple, most likely the owners of the property before it was abandoned.
I cleared my throat nervously and asked them if they needed directions, and made a comment about how the beautiful the property was. I knew they had seen the girls nude, and they had to have knownwe had been inside the home.
I was ultimately convinced that I was about to have to return to court for trespassing, and on the verge of a panic attack...when something insane happened. The husband told me that they just wanted to make sure that we weren't vandals, and to carry on. My jaw dropped. This was hands down the best experience that I have ever had when getting caught trespassing. They smiled, waved, drove off and left us alone. We couldn't have asked for it to have gone better. Usually the best scenario is one where you are told to leave, and you comply.
Not wanting to press our luck, the girls got dressed and we went on to another location...another abandoned building.
This next one wasn't a home. It was an old summer camp school building, complete with school desks, pamphlets, and of course tons of raincoats.
After talking a quick walk through the building, we decided to clean up a cluttered section and have Kayla and Jennie pose together. It was a strange experience sweeping and moving things around in an abandoned building, but I can honestly say that it was probably more effort than I've ever put into cleaning my own room. Don't tell my girlfriend that.
Kayla with her tripod and trigger taking some self portraits on the windowsill.
Who doesn't love window blinds?
Then it was time to get Jennie and Kayla together.
Remember when I told you about the school desks? Well, we just had to carry one outside for a few photos.
After a few shots, we were ready to move on...to yet another abandoned homestead. This next one was a bit more off the beaten path. After driving around on back roads for a while, we turned onto a dirt road with a gate. The gate...being a rope tied between two trees that was easily lifted by the girls as I drove my little Honda under it. The last bit was the toughest. A muddy, not maintained, rocky road in a FWD car. We made it halfway, and took the rest on foot.
Shoes muddy, backs sweaty, we made it...and it was well worth it. Another beautiful home, sans vandalism.
Kayla put on a beautiful thrifted vintage nightgown and we started snapping away.
After some time in the house and all of it's multicolored rooms, we ventured to the nearby barn.
Lastly, we entered the silo. Unused wood, nails, and moss covered the interior. Kayla stripped down and we took turns climbing the shaky ladder to get the best vantage point for an overhead shot.
I have no idea how to close out this blog post, and I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to all this so I'll just ask you to check out these talented people on social media and I'll see you next time!