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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Hospital 02, May 2010

hospital_02_main

Up at dawn with my UE mentors, drove several hours, parked, hiked through field and swamp and bitterly regretted wearing shorts, fended off an attack by an angry snake (not pictured, but yes, that really happened), and crept past the security van into this (mostly) abandoned hospital. I’ve resisted the urge to caption all of the photos; they are probably evocative enough without my yammerings.

January 2013 Update

After several aborted attempts, I finally made it back inside Hospital 02. The first 35 or so pictures in the album below are from that recent trip. On my first visit (back in 2010), we spent a little time in a frigid and pitch black basement library full of medical journals dating back to the late 1800s. This time around, we spent quite a bit of our time in that same room, and discovered a treasure trove of good stuff, which I hope to share in a later post (it’s being dried out as I write this…). While we were in there, inhaling a century of mold, delicately prying apart disintegrating pages, reading by flashlight, we heard the unmistakable noise of someone trying to be quiet. We all switched off our lights and crouched in the dark. Through a doorway, we could see flashlights against a wall, and heard the murmuring of a group of people passing by. Had they seen our lights? Were they security guards hoping to sneak up on us? All we could do was crouch in the dark and wait. After a few minutes, we heard banging noises from a floor above us, and something heavy being dragged across the floor. That couldn’t possibly be security, we reasoned, and began creeping upstairs to see what was up. Whoever it was apparently heard us and fled, but we could see clearly what they had been doing: Breaking apart a beautiful iron and marble fireplace surround. The constituent pieces were stacked around the room, ready for transport. How they planned to carry the massively heavy pieces out is beyond me. As I’ve admitted in another story, I’m guilty of removing a lamp from another location, so I’m in no position to judge. But smashing up a massive antique fireplace seems a bit beyond the pale.

January 2015 Update

Recent changes in ownership – or possible impending demolition – left Hospital 02 a bit more accessible, so we returned for one more look. This time, I used my brand-new Canon 70D and got 10 or so pretty nice pictures. I’ve added those to the beginning of the gallery. Highlights of this trip included wading barefoot through a dark tunnel filled with near-freezing water. Better than walking around for the rest of the day with wet shoes, but not by much. Ouch.

Viewing the Gallery

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4 Comments

  1. Wow! Your photography is amazing!! The textures and angles are luscious. I kept saying to myself, “This is my favorite so far.” Click on the next one. “No, this one is now my favorite!” And repeat, pretty much all the way through. I’d love to see a montage of all the pictures of single chairs. The red fan, and the light bulb reflecting the windows are definitely two of my favorites. Perhaps it is a good thing to not caption the photos; doing so might detract from their starkness. But never worry about your introductory “yammerings.” They enrich the photos and make me feel as if I were on the exploration with you. Bravo!

  2. Beautiful photos. Each one drew me in and left me wondering, with perhaps exception to the bird skeleton (seems fairly clear what happened there). Thanks for sharing. I truly appreciate the history you have captured here.

  3. Finally sat down to take a really good look at the pics. I especially like the one of the dead bird. When Bill and I were in Brazil this last year, there was an installation at the Sao Paulo museum done by an artist who took photos of dead birds in all kinds of tragic poses. I can’t say I loved it, but it was (sickly) intriguing.

    I also like the picture of the shoe rack. (I really need one of that scale.)

    My favorite picture, though, is the second one – of the stairway that climbs up into the light. Great job!

  4. Stunning photos, Jason. When I see them, I just get filled with “wonder what happened here” type thoughts. Hospitals, like churches and cemeteries, are filled with layers of death and hope and conflict and peace. Then I start to wonder how I can use the location as a movie set.

    As you may have seen on Facebook, Nick “borrowed” one of the photos for his band “The Cutting Room Floor” – Great photos, thank you for sharing.

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