Years ago I took a trip to visit a friend who was studying at a college in Milledgeville, Georgia. While we were there, she took me (and my camera) to Central State Hospital. I’ve always been fascinated by mental institutions so seeing one in person was pretty inspiring, in a strange way. I took loads of pictures that I’m just now revisiting.
I posted them on my blog at the time, and wrote a bit about the experience, but I’m going through old works and trying to see them with fresh eyes. A lot of it has to do with updating my photography portfolio; seeing old images is a great way to measure how far you’ve come. Some images I don’t even remember taking until I see them again. And some, like my series from Central State Hospital, have inspired my photography and my writing.
Typically I write contemporary, realistic fiction that doesn’t require much research. But going through these photos again has made me think of the book I read shortly after this visit: The Lives They Left Behind. And how I then started volunteering at a center for people with disabilities that was so much better than an institution, but still made you think about how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.
What are some interesting vacations or photos ops you’ve had? Have these experiences inspired you creatively?