My 2014 Portfolio

My 2014 portfolio can be found by clicking right HERE or by clicking any of the photos below!

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2014 has been a crazy year, with a ton of amazing times with great friends exploring all over around the mid-west and East coast. From Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Tennesee, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland – The year has been quite incredible and I have seen so many amazing things, had countless unique and amazing experiences and I can’t wait for 2015!

During 2014, among all explorations, my book “Empty Spaces” was published and now made available here – http://deedspublishing.goodsie.com/pre-order-empty-spaces-by-johnny-joo

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I think that is one thing that I like about exploring and adventuring. You will always end up with so many unique experiences unlike anything else, and without that good adventure behind you, you would not have that strange piece of life you can piece into the story.

I can’t wait to share even more through 2015 with everybody. I am sure there will be so much to come. In fact, I know there will be, because it has already been getting planned!

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Thank you so much to everyone who has supported my work over the year, from friends, family, strangers, everybody! I appreciate each and every kind word received, as well as those who visit my website, Facebook page, anything else, to all who have purchased prints, my book, or anything else, all who have supported #OhioToOregon, all who have shared my work. You are all amazing, and I will continue sharing the world in the best way that I can!

www.architecturalafterlife.com

Thank you over this year to the pages and places that have featured or shared my work, oh and of course the people who published my book at Deeds Publishing – Other thanks to The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, New York Post, New York Daily News, The Guardian, ABC News, WKYC Channel 3 – Cleveland20 Minuten, The Mirror, BBC CultureWDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit, BuzzFeed, Lerner Publishing Group, zeitjung.deThe News-Herald, The Weather Channel, PetaPixel, Good Morning America, Pee-wee Herman, Ashton Kutcher, who have all shared my photos, my work, stories and book this year. Anybody that I may have forgotten, I’m sorry I suck. If I named anymore specific people I would be here all day typing something that would never fit here. You are ALL awesome!

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#OhioToOregon Package

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As I had been talking about, in support of the #OhioToOregon project, we are offering this awesome package of awesome stuff. This will help support the project greatly, and you will get a ton of stuff, come check it out below!

Not only will you help in support of this project, but you will be getting a BUNCH  of awesome stuff at the same time! So that’s always awesome!

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You will get:

1 signed 16×20 print 

1 signed 8×10 print 

1 signed 4×6 or 5×7 print (surprises are awesome)

1 signed 16×20 #OhioToOregon poster (signed by both of us)

20 Black and white stickers 

20 Color stickers 

1 signed Calendar featuring various works from my portfolio and in relation to the #OhioToOregon project

2 awesome magnets with an awesome design

1 signed flyer (signed by both of us)

1 #OhioToOregon shirt (in awesome help and support of the project) ((Select your desired size in the options)

and a tripped out awesome wrist band

And with ALL of this, you will also be able to get more, come read about it below!

The package can be found here for purchase:

http://www.urbex-emptyspaces.com/shop/ohio-to-oregon-package

The project can be found detailed here:

http://www.gofundme.com/ft974g

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A 10-story Standing Biohazard

Have you ever wondered where entire lives of personal information are stored after visiting the doctor? There are times when we get to see this first hand, and in the most eerie of situations. Stepping inside, it’s like the sirens have been sounded, everybody has quickly packed up, rushing out with anything they could hold and let a wave of post-apocalyptic destruction wash over from room to room.

A strong smell of stale medical supplies hovered in the air slightly covering the underlying of must and mold. As I traversed these halls, climbing one deserted floor after another, I felt that the end of most human existence had already become a reality. Logbooks lay scattered across office floors, while children’s toys and beds remain stationed in their original areas. Strong winds swept in through the numerous shattered windows surrounding the entire outside of this circular, 10-story tower, breezing across privacy curtains, which still hung surrounding each dirty, forgotten bed. As if a bomb had went off in the center of each floor, all lobbies sat surrounded by a vivid destruction, while glass reflected a sparkling blue from small leaks of light reaching in.

So there we were, staring down 10 massive stories of thousands of forgotten stories. From the dark depths of the morgue, to the paper-scattered offices above, this towering biohazard held a treasure trove of information anywhere from blood samples, drug tests, other various bodily fluids, body tissue, x-rays, all scattered atop the everyday lives of these patients detailed in paperwork. It can only make one wonder ‘how does this much just simply get tossed aside?’ Now, this is the normal thought one’s brain may spark through exploring any place, not limited to hospitals, but when you personally witness a structure painted with the dark colors of post-apocalypse, it can touch on the mind in a much greater way. These are the entire lives of people through horrific and traumatic events, some gone, some living normal lives, possibly unaware that their stories sit scattered in the dark depths of a decaying medical center.

Built in 1952, the center began as a small six-bed operation, but by 1958, the center has already amassed over 100 beds, followed by a coronary care unit nearly 10 years after.

Frequented by patients for many years, these grounds have sat quietly abandoned since their final closure in 2007. While shuffling through pitch-black corridors, we stopped to notice a vacant space, where once held elevator doors providing closure to former lifts, and shining our flashlights inside we had discovered financial records piled from the bottom of the elevator shaft to the floor where we stood. During a 1991 financial crisis, the hospital had filed for their second bankruptcy, indicated by the documents stating that it was urgent to move furniture and equipment to another location. This medical center would come to see a 3rd bankruptcy in the year 2001, after using money reserved for taxes to cover operating expenses. A settlement plan was approved in 2003, pulling the center from bankruptcy, but that wouldn’t be the end of problems for this establishment.

In June of 2011, 4 years after its closure, a waiting room on the 5th floor was sent into an inferno. Quickly controlled shortly after by local firefighters, it had only managed to scorch the couple floors outside the lobby, within the stairwell leading up. As if this hadn’t been enough for a building to endure, another fire broke out in late October, burning up some areas on an upper floor during this same year.

Still armed with flashlights, we could hear the faint sounds of night outside echoing in through open spaces. Never has a simple cricket song sounded so ear piercingly creepy, as the sound hovered above the vast silence of rotting hallways, reverberating with the “plop—plop—plop” of water dropping to the floors. For a moment, it had been decided to turn out the flashlights and simply listen to the noise surrounding us. Inside my head, all I could picture was the start of a bad horror movie, you know, one of those ones where at a moments notice, you are forced to run through the most ridiculous maze of intense darkness. The halls were so void of light, air in front of me actually seemed thick with darkness; one of those moments where you can’t even tell that you’re holding your hand in front of your own face.

X-ray tables sat beneath crumbled destruction, surrounded by discarded patient identification badges and boxes full of birth records. Open biohazard containers filled to the brim with used needles sat next to collections of bone marrow samples, a scene that may make your stomach turn, but to me this was such a wild discovery.

We were the only two wandering the halls that night, but were we truly alone here in this desolate place? I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was so much life surrounding us. The type place imagined through stories, in reality right in front of us.

Late January of this year, 2014, marked the beginning of demolition. The life of this center is now limited, slowly fading away with each falling brick.

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Watch The Skies Tonight!

Hey everybody! Make sure you watch the skies towards the East tonight and tomorrow night/morning, because you may find quite possibly one of the best galactic shows you will see! Between 1-4am on the morning of the 14th (STAY UP, IT’S WAY MORE THAN WORTH IT) you will be able to see hundreds of meteors blasting through Earth’s atmosphere, glowing blue and seemingly STRIKING THE EARTH. It is definitely one of the most wild experiences and best meteor showers of the year. These meteors appear just near the constellation Gemini, hence the name.

I first saw this shower in 2012, when stepping out of my back door to go on a walk. I saw a massive blue streak across the sky and thought “IS THE WORLD ENDING?” I was taken away by how massive and beautiful what I just saw was, but didn’t know meteors could appear THAT huge.

I quickly rushed inside to grab my camera, set my tripod up, and as quickly as I could, made sure that all of my settings were on point to how I wanted them and within my first 10 second exposure, I captured this amazing and massive meteor sweeping the sky.

I can’t wait to go and capture more this year.

the universe is an amazing…completely jaw-dropping thing to watch unfold in front of your very own eyes.

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Transportation Forgotten – On Route to an Afterlife

I’m sure a lot of us have lingering memories, nostalgic and otherwise, of moments in life that have involved transportation. Whether it be a memorable road trip with friends, or perhaps a hot summer drive through the hills of a beautiful green countryside, while you sat, a young child admiring sunset from the passenger side window of an old rusted pickup truck. Imagine that after all of this time gone by, with each passing year these same vehicles have become forgotten, tossed away into a rusted pile, only to be taken over by time, while nature sits closely, consuming these memories.

This is exactly what has become of much transportation, as it is tossed into the dirt. Through the air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space, we have built various methods to transport and trade goods, as well as move ourselves from one place to another, developing civilizations and helping us to see the world.

Forgotten aircraft can have a diverse history, from dark to strangely intriguing. Some of these planes had once flown a war zone taking lives, maneuvering high through destruction and chaos, but now sit buried beneath layers of rust, dirt and dust. As I wander into the middle of a quiet field, I find a lonely car, between 1930s and 1940s in age, becoming an open host to nature’s beautiful destruction, transforming it from inside out into a metal jungle.

During the time of wagon roads, Dr. J.W. Carhart invented the very first steam-powered carriage-sized automobile suitable to run on them in 1871. This left the state of Wisconsin intrigued to find a practical substitute for the use of horses. It was noted that the vehicle must maintain an average speed of more than 5 mph over a 200-mile long course. On July 16, 1878, the first city-to-city automobile race had begun, starting in Green Bay, Wisconsin and ending in Madison. Two of seven registered vehicles had competed, one from Green Bay, one from Oshkosh. While the vehicle from Green Bay maintained a greater speed, it had broken down before completing the race. The opposing car finished the 200-mile course in 33 hours and 27 minutes, yielding an average speed of six miles per hour.

Another thing that I feel a need to bring attention to is the fact that a lot of people tend to think that an electric car is some type of newer, futuristic invention. “Oh my, a car that runs on electricity!” While in reality, the first electric car of the world, the Flocken Elektrowagen, was invented by German inventor Andreas Flocken in 1888. Electric cars were actually largely popular between the late 19th century and early 20th century, with electricity being among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion, providing much greater ease of operation that could not at the time be achieved by gasoline cars available. A short time later, advances were made in internal combustion technology, including the electric starter, pushing these advantages further down the ladder. Gasoline cars were attaining a much greater range, with quicker refueling times. A growing petroleum infrastructure lead to a mass production of gasoline vehicles by companies like the Ford Motor Company, reducing the cost nearly by half in comparison to electric cars, which is still pretty similar to current day price difference. With the constant dropping, dropping, dropping of the use of electric propulsion, the United States had effectively removed it from its markets by the 1930s. In recent years, with all of these concerns over the environmental destruction due to gasoline cars, there has been a rise in the interest of electric vehicles. Though these had been reintroduced in the late-1990s, during that time, this was a miserably failed reappearance. Currently, it seems like they may be here to stay for a little while longer.

So what is to become of these once very much-needed machines? Something that was used on such a constant basis is now becoming nothing more than a mechanical plant pot, and though it spawns a fascinatingly altered scene, can you imagine buying a car simply to shape it into one of these?

Vehicles are lined up as if traffic had stopped, a never-ending rush hour. People have walked away from buses, from trains; things have been forgotten in garages and driveways, fields and factories. I’m always searching, looking for the things that most have forgotten or would not even care to bother with, usually leading me to strange, yet amazing places like these. Mother nature continues to consume our “trash” into a part of itself; shaping it as if it were a sporadically devised sculpture, where the wild world paints itself over these forgotten artifacts of human life. Long after we are gone, what will be left to remember us by? Some scraps, perhaps a cell phone or two?

I have witnessed these flares, in the sky…meteors so large that they could wipe out our entire existence…I have seen the glow of the universe presenting itself, radiating around me, even if for just a short moment…I have observed some wild, wild things…but I am still puzzled when confronted with a scene of such foolish forgetfulness.

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Grand Architecture and Forgotten Specimens

Given the choice, would I rather examine some grand architecture, or some odd and forgotten specimens? You know, specimens, like pigs, frogs, larvae, rats, etc. Recently I was presented with the opportunity to see and photograph both inside an abandoned high school.

This school is most certainly one of the largest abandoned schools that I have ever been into, while also exhibiting some of the most wild and intricate architecture I have ever seen. It’s alway a shame seeing places of such grandeur falling to pieces, rotting away with time, being pummeled by scrappers.

Built in Mediterranean Revival-style and standing at 3 stories, this building was opened on September 4, 1928, welcoming students through its doors. The long halls now sit empty and quiet with only the fluttering of dust. Standing at one end, staring to the opposite end, all you see is a vacant space once occupied by students, now seemingly never-ending, stretching to the opposite side of the building.

From its interesting exterior, to its hugely silent interior, sit the odd and forgotten pieces and parts left over from what was previously a science lab. A specific hallway had been designated as a wing for scientific study, each room serving a separate purpose. Below you will find a collection of photos taken of this location.

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The Steele Mansion – An Incredible Restoration

Over the time span of some years now, I have watched this mansion go from completely trashed and seemingly unsalvageable, to a wonderfully amazing and beautiful structure once again. This may be one of the greatest historical restorations I have seen, and I am so glad and feel so lucky that I have been given the chance to see such a place come back from the dead like this. Thank you so much to Arthur and Carol Shamakian for being so amazing, welcoming and such great people for restoring this amazing structure. Below, I will provide a detailed history of the Steele Mansion, along with a gallery of how I have photographed it over the years and how it has finally come to be. Without Arthur and Carol, this mansion would for sure be no more.

THE FOLLOWING SECTION WAS WRITTEN ALMOST ENTIRELY BEFORE THERE WERE PLANS TO RESTORE IT AT ALL, AND THE CITY WANTED TO TEAR IT DOWN.

This and more can be found in my book “Empty Spaces” which you can get from this LINK.

As we take a journey through time, back to 1863; or almost 150 years ago we can mentally restore these decayed ruins, blanketed in piles of dust, overgrown with moss and mold, exfoliating images of what once were beautifully painted walls.
The Steele Mansion; built in 1863 for a very opulent man, by the name of George W. Steele. Steele was a wealthy businessman who had called for the building of the mansion in 1863; purchasing it upon completion in 1866, and finally welcoming the Steele family in through its large, wooden doors; to live among the exquisitely painted corridors, brilliant wood workings, and admirable marble fire places in 1867. Steele would go on to use the front portion of the house, while the rear bit was used by servants.

April 4, 1881; the date George Steele spent his last moments on Earth. Succeeding his death; at the age of 57, his family was now left with the mansion which they continued to maintain.

According to information gathered through others, the mansion was then after passed between different members of the Steele family either close or extended over the course of several decades.

In the year 1917, a man by the name of E.D. Heartwell purchased the property and ordered as well for a house to be constructed beside it. Shortly after; in July during an unknown year, Heartwell then sold the mansion to a lawyer by the name of H.E. Hammar. Shortly after purchasing the property, Hammar passed away in 1920; only owning the mansion for a very short period of time.

In the year 1921, The Hammar Estate sold the dwelling to Lake Erie College; which sits crosswise to the mansion itself. Now the new home to four college presidents, the mansion was about to see even more life within its walls. Of course, the mansion had at this point already seen a great deal of peoples lives within its elegant corridors, but would only come to compile its stories over time. In 1958, a college president by the name of Paul Weaver said his goodbyes to the mansion, and migrated to the Morley Farm in Concord Township. The mansion was then after converted to a college dormitory, for students.

As we continue through 22 years, we end up in 1980 when the mansion was sought after by a company called Kertes Enterprises, a Cleveland company that had longed to purchase it and use its halls for a multifamily dwelling. Eventually, within the 80s’ someone had done just that; the mansion was purchased and used as a block of apartments.

In the year 1998 the Steele Mansion was purchased by Christina and Clyde Dubeansky of Painesville, Ohio; the town where the mansion itself stands.

Christina and her husband spent much of their time fixing up, and restoring the mansion to its former grandeur. Christina was quoted saying “my husband and I had sold our home and put everything we had into it. Not only did I think it was a beautiful historical home, but for the city as well, to have a home that was that grand restored to its original beauty was amazing. We loved living in it and restoring it. It was a dream come true for us. We had driven by it for years before we owned it and thought, ‘Some day, we’re going to know somebody who owns it and get invited in.’ We finished the restoration that the Karen and Doug Group started.”

A few years of restoration had passed, when in January of 2001 the mansion had caught fire while contractors were melting ice that had formed on the roof. This transpired during the Dubeansky’s ownership, and unfortunately they were left without proper funds to restore it once again.

Some years of bombardment by natural weather occurrence; with an open roof due to the temporary one falling in, and no caretaker turned the mansion into a canvas for nature itself. Floors were slowly beginning to grow moss of a bright green, windows became clouded, pieces of the architecture itself continued to break, and fall. The walls started to scream as paint began to lift from its grasp creating abstract patterns of decay throughout the houses corridors.

Christina is also quoted saying “I literally drove on the streets around it so that I didn’t have to pass by it. It made us heartsick every time we had to drive past it and see the damage. I felt bad for the neighbors around it for being an eye sore for them.” What Christina wasn’t aware of is how much of a beautiful, and floridly colorful scene this would in time, create for explorers.

The home was sold to Marous Brothers Construction in 2004, and shortly after was purchased by Painesville Resident Timothy Herron in 2006.

In early 2009, bombardment by a severe windstorm resulted in the collapsing of one of the mansions chimneys, partially destroying some of the floors inside and reaching to the boiler system damaging that as well. A little while after this, the city came in and knocked in two more, altogether caving in the floors all the way through to the basement level.

It was estimated by Doug Lewis that it would take anywhere from one to two million dollars to restore correctly and at this point it would have to be “somebody who would do it for the love of renovating the home or for historical reasons.”
Because of the buildings condition at the time, it was issued an order for demolition until it was sold at an auction by Timothy Herron to Arthur Shamakian; a person who would come to restore it for either the love of renovating it or historical reasons…or both.

The mansion is currently under way to be fully restored, inside and out. Garbage has been cleaned up, and pieces of the mansion have been collected to be pieced back together; a puzzle created by the once perishing structure. A structure that went from a beautiful creation, to a beautiful disaster, and is now becoming again a stunning architectural reconstruction. All it needed was someone willing to give it a face-lift.

“I hope it’s restored to what it was previous to the fire. I’d love to see somebody build her back up to what she was.” – Christina Dubeansky

The owner at the time of the mansions enigmatic decay would let us explore through, and was nice enough to give us bits of information here and there, not bothering to call the police as long as we would not vandalize or cause any other destruction or trouble. Never vandalize and destroy; that is not what urban exploration is about.

Surprisingly enough; through the years it was left to rot, vandals, looters, and the like had never reaped the marble which once belonged to the fireplaces that lined the many rooms of this architectural masterpiece.