Welcome To Hell
Adventures are purely experiential. The sights; the sounds; the smells - all our senses are intrinsically linked to the discovery of something different and unique. As an artist, how I do preserve and present the sense of adventure, discovery and the unknown to the viewer who wasn't on the expedition?
As a documentarian, it is my duty to document and preserve the remnants of life as I observe it. As an artist, it is my duty to interpret my personal experiences and thoughts in a conveyable manner. These photographs explore the remaining intersections between man and nature in a (nearly) abandoned town. How has the demolition of the town affected the natural landscape? How has nature reclaimed the town from its former infrastructure? Who and what remains in "hell"?
But these images fall short of communicating the experience of Centralia - the experience of "hell". There's a former highway - Interstate 61 - re-routed around the underground fire, which has split the roadway into two, breathing smoke and steam through numerous underground tunnels - which is now littered in graffiti. "Welcome to Hell" is an attempt to immerse the viewer into the walk down that highway - the graffiti, the vulgarity, the immaturity - leading up to the adventurer's goal of finding the smoking crevasse. Similarly, this incarnation of the Traveling Case of Curiosities: "Centralian Hellfire" allows the viewer to experience the sight and smell of the steam and smoke emerging from deep within the ground - preserving the 'hellfire' in a glass jar, awaiting the viewer's choice to preserve or indulge in the rarity of the experience.