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Ian Ference
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Lives in a strange nomadic lifestyle.
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Ian Ference

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In a Red Room

I just realized that I've been so caught up in this whole "writing my first book" project that I haven't shared anything in ages.  So here's an up-until-recently unpublished photograph from last summer, featuring my friend and model Rayne (raynetupelo.com) and taken in an abandoned insane asylum in Virginia.  I miss you all!  Someday, my book will be off to the publishers, and I will have a life once more.  Meanwhile, I'll try to keep my stream active where I can!
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+Amy Heiden - Bummer!  It was pretty cool.  That said, I could find NO good way to shoot it, architecturally - it basically looked photoshopped no matter what I did...
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Ian Ference

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Several years ago, a guard let me behind the fence at Buffalo State Hospital to take a few photos at the end of blue hour.  I then promptly forgot about them... until today!  It's like finding a pile of doubloons under the sofa!  Print & gallery: http://smu.gs/1fdMvqj
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Ian Ference

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An Early Success

So of all the negatives I've scanned for my book on Buffalo State Hospital, this is possibly the one I'm proudest of.  It was some time in the early or mid 2000s, and I had just about zero experience with light painting.  But when I came across this vault door in the basement of the Administration Building (the one with the towers), I knew I had to give it a shot.  I had my camera loaded up with 160 ASA portrait film, and now my task was to set up the shot in near-darkness and then figure out my exposure time - as well as to evenly light the scene.

I used a combination of an LED torch and an LED lantern; the lantern allowed me to compose the shot and acted as a key light.  But then I had to figure out exposure.  So I set the lantern up in position near the ground, pointed at an upwards angle, somewhat left of frame.  And I turned on my torch, and pointed my Sekonic spot meter at the light it created.  And then I guesstimated how much coverage I had, and guessed that about 10 minutes would be right.

So I spent 10 minutes waving my torch around, trying my hardest not to bump my tripod.  My arm got a bit tired, but when I got my film back - I was glad I'd done it.  I'd nailed my first true light painting.
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Thanks +Christian Madsen!  And I shot film exclusively from the 1980s through 2008; now I shoot some digital and some film +mamo delpero - but I will always prefer film!  Thanks +Arne Lepla.
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Occasionally, I dabble in artforms other than photography.  Here's a watercolor/gouache I painted over the past few nights.
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Good work
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“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” --H. P. Lovecraft

A recent photograph of the abandoned Rochester Subway's last remaining tunnel section, for +Susan Marinello's #InspiredByLiterature  
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+Susan Marinello - Yah, you also should have met up with me, dorkface!  :P
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Have him in circles
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Ian Ference

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So the latest issue of Nuart Revue Magazine (an online publication) features an extensive spread of some of my work shooting art models in abandoned buildings - including several world premier images!  Give it a look-see!
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Awesome photography +Ian Ference !  Thanks for sharing.
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Ian Ference

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Celebration time!

So I had a deadline unexpectedly pushed forward on me - instead of March, I had to get all of my photos of Buffalo State Hospital finished up by this week.  Which wound up in a roughly 100 hour work week, very little sleep, and canceling all social functions.  Last night, when I finished up and got the last file uploaded to my server, I put on a British murder mystery show and promptly conked out for nearly 12 hours.  But, having a great feeling of accomplishment, I woke today feeling like a normal human being as opposed to a semi-conscious zombie!  So now it's time for celebration - which in my case means a mix of relaxation and photo adventures.  Here's one last photo of Buffalo State Hospital at night, before I completely ignore the place for a few days!
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beautiful view a shot!
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Ian Ference

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The Best of Memories

This photograph of some patient beds mouldering away in a patient dormitory at Buffalo State Hospital comes from what was probably my most memorable trip to the asylum, with three friends.  We faced difficulty at every turn - at one point, we couldn't find our way past barriers constructed to block the wards off from each other, until we realized that we had to climb the dumbwaiter shaft.  At another point, we broke for lunch just as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, brilliantly illuminating our picnic area.  We slept on foam insulation, telling stories until we were tired enough to sleep.  When I photograph these places, I'm doing my best to create art.  But I'm also doing my best to create wonderful memories such as these.  Looking at this photograph nearly 8 years later brings them all flooding back!

Print: http://smu.gs/1f4iPvG
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The Walking Dead scene? ^_^
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Ian Ference

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The Joys of Old Negatives

Over 7 years ago, I made perhaps my most memorable trip into Buffalo State Hospital - the asylum I'm currently writing a book on.  Among other things, I was finally able to access and climb into one of the signature towers that mark the building, and bliss out on the roof.

But in 2007, I had a hard drive melt down on me and lost all my scans.  My negatives were all in storage.  So, it's been over six years since I've seen these photographs - I recently dug them out of my storage locker in Charlotte, and have begun scanning in earnest.  It's amazing every time a new image gets realized by my scanner; each negative brings back a wonderful memory.

Like this one.  After goofing off in the Eastern Tower of the Administrative Pavilion with my friends for the better part of an hour, I took a shot down the stairs, back into the building proper, to memorialize the experience.  And now, the feelings of amazement at having gotten to lay on the roof between the towers are all coming back.

It's great finding old negatives.  It really is.

Print available here: http://smu.gs/1eyK8MR
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Picture…YES...
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Ian Ference

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Stairs unsafe - use caution.

In my travels, I come across dodgy staircases on a regular basis.  This one, in the Forst building at Trenton State Hospital, isn't that bad - with a little creative navigation, it was easy enough to surmount the missing stairs and get to the next landing.  In other buildings, it is perhaps more difficult.  To get to the top level of the Beury Building in Philadelphia, it is necessary first to climb a section of stairs that was pulling away from the wall, its railing missing, and then to climb a shaky wooden plank replacing a half-dozen missing steps over a void that led down about 12 stories.  I brought a model there once; she said it was the scariest experience of her life.  I've never seen the top floor of the North wing of the Nurses' Building on North Brother Island.  I tried to climb the remains of the rotting staircase leading up there on my first trip out there, and a granite stair that probably weighed more than I did missed my head by a matter of inches.  I decided that whatever was up there probably wasn't worth the risk.  That was the only time I've turned away entirely instead of finding a bypass, and there's a part of me that's sad, now that I don't have access to the Island anymore, that I never saw it.  But everything in modern ruins photography revolves around a risk/reward matrix.  Like many things in life, every step you take is a calculated risk.  Sometimes, what lies at the top of a staircase just can't be worth the risk of death.  Sometimes it's not worth the risk.  I never saw that top floor, but I'm alive to tell you about that granite slab which missed my head, and about the multitude of dodgy staircases that I did choose to climb.

This print (any others from this building) available here: http://smu.gs/MaCZIx
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awesome
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People
Have him in circles
24,826 people
Work
Occupation
Guerrilla preservationist / urban archaeologist. Writer/photographer/historian for The Kingston Lounge.
Employment
  • Photographer
    present
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Richard Nickel Jr.
Story
Tagline
Writer and photographer for The Kingston Lounge
Introduction
Curating #TuesDecay, a weekly theme centered around abandoned or forgotten architecture, engineering, infrastructure, etc - see: http://bit.ly/oqJGDc

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TESTIMONIALS:

- "He's a creep for lots of reasons, but this is certainly not one of them." +Jennifer Eden

- "Holy hell Ian, I literally spat the water I was drinking all over my screen. Just when I thought I knew you..." +Amy Heiden

- "Since we're all being honest and open here, I have a huge mancrush on +Ian Ference.+Samir Osman

- "Ian is actually quite sweet in person, especially with his plaid jammies on." +Sandra Parlow

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Currently
a strange nomadic lifestyle.
Previously
Charlotte, NC - Carrboro, NC - Brooklyn, NY - Fairport, NY - Ithaca, NY - Boston, MA - Worcester, MA - New Brunswick, NJ - Cleveland, OH