The Story

As seen on this week’s episode of onOne Software’s Perfect Inspiration –

I love turning back to the images from my very first visit to Belchertown State School in Belchertown, MA. There was so much there to shoot and it was really easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of detail. Originally, I started with ultra-wide shots, cramming in as much as I could. There was just an overload of cool things to nab. I did that for the first two hours or so. I’d set up an image with my wide lens, bracket, and move on. I’d try head on perspectives, angled perspectives, and at varying heights. Ultimately, I ended up with a lot of the same type of image and none really conveyed a story about this decrepit place that I was standing in.

After a few hours, I got the initial enchantment out of my system. I started looking more closely at things. It wasn’t so much about the entire room. Rather, I started noticing etches on doors and patterns in peeling paint. It quickly became very clear to me that I didn’t need to include tons of detail to give the viewer a sense of what it felt like to stand there. Rather, I just needed to find the right details to help concentrate the enormity of the scene.

I think this particular image is my favorite from the entire shoot. I remember seeing those claw marks on the key lock and it sent shivers through me. That, combined with the peeling paint, told a better story than any wide shot that I walked away with from that trip.

In terms of processing

Watch the entire workflow video of how I achieved the look for this image here:

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