Sunday, February 21, 2010

Windows to the Soul, or Souls Past and Present

The Morbid Details - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Taken Over - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Windows of an aging public institution, overgrown with vines, patched, boarded and abandoned, conjure many tales. I think windows and doors have always been iconic for the human species: they are among the archetypes or unconsciously-associated symbols that help us interpret human behavior and navigate the mystery of our existence in the cosmos.

It's no surprise then, that windows such as these have an almost horrific and shocking impact. At least, that's how I feel when I gaze at them. One has to wonder what went on there, in this abandoned complex of buildings at King's Park Psychiatric Hospital, on the grounds of what is now Nissequogue River State Park, and what spiritual forces may have been left behind. One doesn't have to believe wholeheartedly in ghosts to acknowledge that we haven't disproved their existence. Whose spirit might roam these grounds? Would you want to meet them? And perhaps most importantly, will we ever achieve a really humane society?

I posted some other shots taken at this site, last year. I love capturing these vintage/urban shots in spite of the fact that they usually don't evoke positive emotions. But they tell stories, and they have so much character. How well they mark the passage of time and the passage of the human stream, along with it! If you click on the photos you will see more of the details, like the shroud effect of the plastic sheeting on the top image, and the poignant gesture of the vines, in both shots.

At times, contemplating images that reflect a darker side of our collective reality, may make us appreciate the lighter side of the human condition. Things like love and beauty. Do you agree?

Images and text copyright Lynda Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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10 comments:

  1. I think the nature of human beings prevents us from ever having a humane society, unfortunately. We'd need to evolve by leaps & bounds to ever get to a point where it'd be remotely possible.

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  2. I left a comment somewhere on your notes. It said posted to profile. But, I could not find it. Perhaps you have comment approve on.

    Wonderful imagery Lynda. It really put my mind to work.

    I love the new look and design of your site. I hope you have a great week and please always keep us thinking and really seeing!
    Jackie

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  3. Hi Lynda,
    As usual your posts of old, abandoned buildings grab me. For me, it is as much about the loss of life from them and the stories that will never be told as it is about the design aspects. The slow creep of time and its effects on the world, especially the man made world, is hard to ignore. It is a reminder of our own mortality.
    Margaret

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  4. When I look at old derelict buildings with their weather beaten features I try to imagine the people that lived within its walls, what they were thinking, what they did for a living, what dreams they might have had and did they fulfill them.

    I'd also imagine that we will take their place one day, hopefully remembered well.

    Take Care,
    Peter

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  5. LANA - Sadly, I agree with you. I often think we are de-volving more than evolving. People are always blaming things outside themselves, for their misery--when much of it comes from their own ignorance or unwillingness to take personal responsibility for important decisions or to even THINK rationally about issues.

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  6. JACKIE - I have missed you on our blogs, as you know. I enjoy your presence and value your comments and friendship.

    As for "seeing," outside of talking way too much, it seems to be what I'm best at. LOL....

    Have a great day with no bad weather, Jackie. We're getting snow-blitzed here again, in the next few days.

    xxxx

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  7. MARGARET - I agree: such scenes are a reminder of our own mortality and the preciousness of life. I think they are also a reminder to count our blessings...every day.

    Wonderful to see you, Margaret!

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  8. PETER - I often think about how fast our lives speed by, and wonder if we will leave any imprint on this earth. (I would hate to be remembered as one of those who, from positions of dubious power, left varying forms of oppression or destruction.)

    Leaving feelings in the hearts of those close to us is, I guess, all that's really important. And if others remember us, as well, I hope it is said that we were "good people."

    We are grains of sand, yet bigger than that. It's such a paradox.

    Hope you're enjoying the new baby!

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  9. I like the look of decay and disintegration in old buildings and like your window photos very much. For me they do not evoke a negative response at all, but after reading your post the pictures are enhanced with a poignancy and melancholy, especially the vines growing over the windows. Nature cleanses and always wins out in the end. The life cycle continues.

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  10. MARIE - Well put. And melancholy is part of life. Maybe we need to know melancholy to be able to appreciate and embrace the joy!

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