Updates and Events…

Hi, it has been a while since I last updated with something larger than a quick update.  Well this article is going be a little longer, but still going to provide an update…

Update to my Portfolio.

I have made an update to two area’s of my portfolio.  If you read my last post you will be aware that I have finally gotten round to putting together some kind of portfolio of the type of photography I undertake.

I don’t pretend to be an expert at photography, far from it, but I do believe I am fairly good or at least I like the pictures I take and end up with.  I am like many of you photographers out there… we take hundreds of photographs, but never seem to print them out or they never see the light of day.  Well I am going to change and post as much of my photography as I can for all to share.

If you visit my main website which is at aiweb20.cixx6.com and visit the Portfolio section of the site you will see a menu like the one shown in the picture above, if you hover over the Categories section of that menu, and then hover over Photography, you will see a list of different types of photography that I have grouped my images into.

The two sections I have updated today are, Travel Photography and Urban Exploration.

I will get to Urban Exploration Photography in a moment, but first…

Travel Photography Here you will see a series of photographs from my vacation to New York City that I took in 2009 when I went to visit my brother and his girlfriend.  This is a small selection from over a hundred photographs that I selected from the many hundreds I took in and around New York City.  Please feel free to take a look around at them and let me know what you think.  You can post your comments here or at the site of my portfolio.

Urban Exploration Photography

Now I will get to Urban Exploration Photography.  Urban Exploration Photography is essentially, visiting abandoned buildings and sites, and photograph its contents.  Some urban exploration sites are simply buildings that have just been abandoned and are simply empty, and the photography of these sites, are to show its isolation and emptiness.  Some sites can be those that have been abandoned a long time ago, many years in fact.  These buildings have been entered by many people and have been vandalized and left in a very dilapidated state or simply because of the age of the building

Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. Urban exploration is also commonly referred to as infiltration, although some people consider infiltration to be more closely associated with the exploration of active or inhabited sites. It may also be referred to as draining (when exploring drains) urban spelunking, urban rock climbing, urban caving, or building hacking.

The nature of this activity presents various risks, including both physical danger and the possibility of arrest and punishment. Many, but not all, of the activities associated with urban exploration could violate local or regional laws and certain broadly-interpreted anti-terrorism laws or be considered trespassing or invasion of privacy. [Source]

One of the most famous web sites showing this type of photography, is the 28dayslater forums.

Back in 2008, I was just finishing my Higher National Diploma in Photography, and the final year project was to put on a exhibition that would be open to the public to show off work of the class.  I have recently been invited to see the latest exhibition of the class of 2012 that is going to be shown at The Canny Space in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, and it brought back memories of when I was getting ready for mine.

Art and Photography Exhibition.

Venue: The Canny Space


c/o Living History North East
The Donnison School
Church Walk
Tyne & Wear

Date: May 29th, 2012

As I said, this reminded me of when I was preparing for my exhibition back in 2008.  We were given a brief that should demonstrate our creativity and photography.  Shortly before this was given to us, a friend and I took a trip up to Cherry Knowles Hospital.

This building had been abandoned some time ago and had been famous on many Urban Exploration websites of one of the best sites to visit.  We both knew of the dangers of entering such a dangerous building, but after looking at the kind of pictures people were getting, it was impossible to turn down.

My friend and I came away with literary hundreds of photographs between us.  I decided that I would use some of these photographs for my exhibition pieces.  It would give me an opportunity to show off my photography skills as well as show my creativity as I used some design techniques that I had learned throughout the course.  Also as the hospital had such a significance to the City of Sunderland, I thought it was important to have it recorded, seeing that there had been many rumors that it was to be stripped of its ‘listed building’ status and demolished for housing to be built in its place.

These are some of the photographs I used in the exhibition.  If you are interested in seeing some more photographs from the photo shoot, I have edited some more of them over at my portfolio [check them out here]

  This image was the focal point of my exhibition piece, and was printed at a massive size (34″ x 24″).  The paintings left behind by the residents of this hospital and the graffiti “I’ll Be Back…” made us very nervous.  I used the technique of making the image into a black and white, and then only coloring in portions of the image to bring focus to areas of the photograph.

In this image, I used High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging techniques.

Sadly the hospital has now been demolished and new buildings are to go in its place.  It was hard to find what to do with the images after the exhibition, so now they live on my wall in my house.

I would like to do more urban exploration photography in the future.

History of Cherry Knowle Hospital

Other names/synonyms: Ryhope asylum

Date Founded: 2nd November 1893

Date opened: 1895

Date Closed: 1998 (main building), remainder of site in use.

Location: Stockton Road, Ryhope, nr. Sunderland, County Durham.

Architect: George Thomas Hine FRIBA, of Nottingham and London.

Layout: Compact Arrow Plan

Date of Images: October 2004

Historical and development summary:

Sunderland County Borough began construction of its own asylum during 1893, completed in 1895. The site chosen consisted of sloping land outside the village of Ryhope, with views across to the North Sea. George Hine was chosen as Architect and produced a compact arrow layout consisting of six blocks of wards and the usual facilities including combined recreation hall and chapel in the centre of the south elevations. Other accomodation included a nurse’s block to the west, lodge cottage, terraced cottages for married attendants, a Superintendents residence, Isolation Hospital, and a villa block which was added in 1902. The administration block is notable for it’s unusual triangular plan. The building was designed on a compact arrow plan and constructed from red brick with stone dressings and slate roofs with distinctive caps over the bay windows, characteristic of Hine’s early commissions.

Further developments took place during the 1930’s and after with the construction of an admissions hospital and convalescent villas to the south, extended Nurse’s home to the west of the main building and the wartime emergency medical service huts close to the main gate, later Ryhope General hospital. The site became Cherry Knowle hospital on being incorporated into the National Health Service in 1948. Later developments under the NHS included a new boiler house and further staff accomodation within the grounds

Buildings within the site were later named after trees, with the original building becoming The Laurels, East (former male side) and The Laurels, West (former female side). As Community Care replaced Long Stay provision, contraction and closure took place in the north western portion of the site leading to the closure of the original asylum buildings, former isolation hospital, villa and former superintendents house.

Current Status:

The majority of the original buildings are now largely disused and derelict, with later buildings and staff accomodation still in NHS use. Plans for redevelopment of the entire site are to include reprovision of existing mental health facilities, reconstruction of Ryhope General Hospital, with remaining land and open space to be used for housing development likely to incorporate and convert the main asylum buildings.

Update (2012) – The hospital and surrounding buildings have now been demolished and work is currently progressing.