Photographers return again and again to places that inspire them: Yosemite, the Chicago waterfront, Mount Fuji.
My Mount Fuji for about a year was this square cinderblock building squatting in a cracked and swollen, nearly-undriveable asphalt lot, just a couple blocks away from my house.
I shot the building while it was between tenants, and during that time it grew that patina of abandonment—weeds and graffiti, a cracked window or two.
After a few visits, the building began to take on a mystical aspect. I imagined I could sense the ghosts of previous occupants, and in its silent emptiness the building seemed to me to be sleeping. Maybe dreaming, even.
I was unimpressed the first time I noticed it. I even took this picture as a joke, smirking at the “BEAUTY SALON & SPA” stenciled on the side.
Now it houses a dog rescue non-profit, a worthy cause. Instead of graffiti, the windows sport paintings of happy cartoon doggies. Maybe I’ll go in there and ask if I can take portraits of the dogs.