Projects

Cathedral

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My friend Eriq and I finally realized our desire to visit Gary, Indiana to photograph the decay of modern civilization. Our expectations were wildly exceeded when we happened across the City Methodist Church. An imposing derelict, we started taking pictures even before we went inside.

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I was thrilled with the Gothic style and the subtle details of the architecture. I took a number of pictures of the outside features from various angles, trying to capture the awe I felt that something so ominous and beautiful could be left and forgotten.

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The church wasn't the only thing that was run down. The stoplights in the area were out, the sidewalks were overgrown, and the once-paved streets were almost gravel. We parked a block away, grabbed our supplies, locked the car, and headed in to check it out.

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We were expecting to have to scale a wall, maybe kick in a door, or at least pull back some chain link fence. Instead we found the way completely open. We walked right in and started taking pictures of the foyer.

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Inside we found the still-closed wooden front doors and noticed the church was built with steel girders, a reminder that the church resides in the town that steel built. Gary, Indiana started as a company town for US Steel, eventually growing to accomodate three steel mills.

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The rotted out walls, broken windows, debris-covered floors and general decay of this section was like something out of a movie. We left a room clearly inhabited by transients untouched, and ventured upstairs before heading away from the nave and the church proper.

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Our feeling was that the grandest sites were to be seen in the church, and if we went there first we would miss the more subtle details of the rest of the structure. We were not disappointed, and came next to the auditorium. The balcony still had rows of steel seats, though the padding was gone, and I wondered if some company of hobos performed here still.

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The stage was covered in boxes and garbage, the roof was collapsing, what appeared to have once been a runway was reduced to framing, and the remains of some long forgotten set pieces darkened the back walls.

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Despite the shambles of the auditorium, with its peeling paint and crumbling brick, there was still beauty to be found. The light streaming through the broken panes of the windows cast a ghostly light on the room, the brightness of the sun overcoming the pale cloudiness of the glass, and the greenery beyond the windows lent color.

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A closer look at the window showed the tapestry of colors, the trees and sunlight combined with the broken glass sections to give it a random arrangement of shades of white and green.