(Updated) Asylum Exhibit to Open October 6


The exhibit will be on display starting Wednesday, September 26 in the Firehouse Gallery. The reception is still scheduled for October 6.

I’m pleased to announce that I will be showing a selection of images from my new project “Asylum” at the Old Firehouse Gallery in the Washington Street Artists’ Co-op in Charles Town, West Virginia. The co-op and gallery are located in the Charles Town Visitors’ Center at 108 North George Street in Charles Town. The exhibit will open October 6 with a reception from 6-8pm and run through the end of October.

I first learned about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum a couple of years ago when I was browsing the web. At the time I had completed my second trip to North Dakota to photograph abandoned farms and other abandoned places. I was looking for photography projects a little closer to home. In August of 2011, I was driving home from a short trip to southern West Virginia and decided to stop in Weston to see what was there. Although I had seen some photographs on the Web, none of them even came close to doing the place justice.

Following the signs from Interstate 79 that pointed to “Historic Asylum Tours”, I turned a corner in the middle of the town of Weston and before me was an amazing building to be located in the middle of a small town in rural West Virginia.

The former Weston State Hospital, recently renamed to its original name of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, is the largest cut-stone masonry building in North America, second in the world only to the Kremlin in Moscow.

At that point I was hooked.

I noticed that the driveway was open and there were cars parked in front of the building so I drove in, parked, and found the front entrance open. They were getting ready to start a tour of the facility so I signed up for it and followed along. I brought my camera and took some hand-held shots along the way, mostly just to record what was there.

Once I got home and looked through the casual images I decided I wanted to make an effort to do some more serious photography in the building, and to try to capture the feel of the place.

Subsequently, I made three trips to Weston to photograph the building and surroundings. The images in the exhibit are the result of that effort.

~ by Rsmith on August 23, 2012.

One Response to “(Updated) Asylum Exhibit to Open October 6”

  1. This place is incredibly fascinating.

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