Exploring and Modeling in Abandoned Indiana

In this world of Instagram, Facebook photographer groups and YouTube tutorials, it’s hard to see my work as unique. I want to take photos that no one has done before, but how is that possible when everyone has a high quality camera in their pocket and the ability to share their art instantaneously? With fall’s beautiful colors ending and the grey winter slowly creeping in, Lafayette, IN often feels like it offers little in the way of photographic creativity, but as I found out recently, I couldn’t be more wrong.

Amazing opportunities surround, and it took shifting my perspective to see what had been there all along. While researching locations to shoot, I learned about updates on spots I had seen regularly, yet never tried, as well as a few new places seemingly worth a look. I read that these sites would soon disappear and this was the catalyst I needed to grab the camera and hit the road. Along the way, I would reach out to fellow photog, Morgan Joy Woodard, for additional inspiration and see if I could convince Helen Mills, a model, who had never modeled before, to let us see if we could tap into her incredible potential that was apparent the first time we met.

Our first location was an abandoned diner, near Lafayette, that had recently had an SUV run through the front door. The crash sealed its fate, as it was announced it would be torn down and replaced with a truck stop in the near future.

Having scouted the locations a week ahead of time, I spent ample time on studying poses, expressions and how to communicate them effectively, hoping I could help Helen’s first foray into modeling be a fun and productive experience. Turns out this was absolutely not needed, as she impressed from the moment the first photo snapped into existence.

From the diner, we headed to an area northeast of Indianapolis, where a few passenger train cars were left near farmland, waiting to be explored. The only problem, these train cars were disappearing quickly, as they were being moved for unknown reasons. This left perhaps one chance to photograph them before they were gone for good.

Finally, with the light disappearing and the air getting cold, we decided we were all having such a good time, we would go for one last spot, a unique trio of school buses yet a little bit closer to Indy. The opportunity required hiking through a wet, wooded area, in near pitch black, but I think the results were well worth it.

With just a bit of research and exploration, Indiana had shown there were plenty of ways to be creative with my photography, I just needed to look. Many thanks to Morgan Joy Woodard @morganjoyphotography and Helen Mills @helen_m18 for the fun experience!

Morgan Joy – BONUS

Here are a few of my favorite shots by Morgan Joy Woodard.

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