Mar 4, 2007

United Metal & Iron Co, Inc.

Yesterday started off with my girlfriend’s car overheating. Not the best way to start the day but it worked to my benefit. After dropping the car off at a garage on the East side of the city I hopped on my bike and explored the area I was in. As I pedaled westward I scanned my surroundings: Truck Station, Titty Bar, Police Station, closed down Scrap Metal Yard…. CLOSED DOWN SCRAP METAL YARD? - Jackpot.

I took a lap around the two blocks, which the Scrap Yard occupied and decided the best way in would be to squeeze through a gap in a chain link fence, which gave me access to the train tracks that run adjacent to the Scrap Yard. This was the ticket, and once on the tracks, I saw numerous gaps in the perimeter fence surrounding the Scrap Yard. After a few cliché photos of passing trains and railroad spikes I was making my way across an open expanse of mud towards the handful of dilapidated buildings left abandoned.

The buildings on the premises were filled with, for lack of a better term, what I call “homeless people stuff”. This consists of empty food containers, lots of clothes, mattresses, chairs, needles, lighters, odd household appliances etc, etc…

It was a very sunny, very windy day. The light was great for photographing the Scrap Yard, but the howling wind was a little unnerving. Doors on buildings swung wide and slammed shut while corrugated tin roofing clanged and clattered high above. The combination of hanging chains rattling, swinging light fixtures, peeling wallpaper and creaking buildings made an ambient symphony while I climbed in and out of windows and crept through the structures.

One particular building had apparently been on fire at one time. Charred wood framing and melted glass lent itself well to numerous photos. Among the various debris on the ground I found a stack of soggy slides. Blowing the dirt off of one, I found a picture of snow & ice. On the back was hand written: ”Sexton Glacier”. I slipped it in my shirt pocket and continued on.

The most alluring piece of machinery was the car crusher. An enormous monster of a machine stood silent and still as I climbed the side of it to get a look into it’s belly. What I saw when I reached the summit was what remained of a car that was 90% crushed. It’s radiator, front bumper and bits of car body poked out from under the giant piston that had made its final crunch years ago.

After a few hours I was beginning to get cold and more than anything else; hungry. I took a few more photos with a new fisheye adapter I just got, took a final glance around and headed back to the train tracks where I had locked and stashed my bike. It was a great day for photos and it just goes to show that some of the best photos come at the most unexpected times.

Check out the full gallery of images here.

- Mike

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