I'm not sure why I am drawn to abandoned buildings. My friends would answer that with the quip:
you like the sense of danger and adventure,
and sure, they would be right. But it is something else too - the historian in me, perhaps, trying to peel back the layers of history to glimpse something real. There is an ocean-sized gap between the polished façades of a restored heritage building, and one that has been neglected and stripped and left to rot. One is beautiful in its splendor, but the other has a haunting authenticity.
An abandoned building is like a reminder to me that people really did live their lives, as human as-could-be, even a hundred or more years ago. The visible remnants bring me to this epiphany. And then I feel more than my historian logic, I feel my historian heart beating in time to the lives of others whom I will never meet nor truly understand.
Besides, there is always the sense of danger and adventure!
Elisabeth Sanatorium was the perfect place to go looking for the dangerous adventures that my heart yearns for; a 1912 brick structure masquerading as an impressive stone mansion; the farce visible through peeling walls. There are rumours of a guard, although these may be unfounded. We entered by stealth.
But one's feelings of heightened awareness, bordering on anxiety, do not subside once indoors. No, in there, the mood is hung on the air like laundry. It is cold, doors are open, expectant. And sometimes a noise will come from another corner of the building, in a far-off ward. The place used to be used as a TB treatment center, then later as a skin clinic. The atmosphere is, overall, lachrymose.
I felt as if I was capturing photos of another's artwork, my own photography being a simple homage to the original.