| LAUREN QUINCY GREATHOUSE | photographer
My schooling, since I can remember, has been filled with eager first days, dressed in the favorites of my newly purchased wardrobe, still with their factory creases, excited for their debut. The plastic trays that segregated my grilled cheese from my tater tots at lunchtime and the array of vibrant colored plastic chairs in each classroom are fond memories. While this work is in some ways a statement of my own metaphorical abandonment of school, the photographs are also meant to express feelings of nostalgia for what I remember most fondly from those years. These images imply the once bustling hallways and cafeterias that are now eerily empty, coated with sickening layers of grime and where the smell of grease still seems thick in the air of lunchrooms. A Wilson football left in a checkered foyer of a school in New Orleans or a jacket left outside a classroom in St. Francisville; these are sad yet poignant imagery. These spaces and tools, which I associate with giddy youths and aspiring minds, have been left to collect the dust of time in a place where time was infamous for moving unhurriedly. These are the remnants of what were once active educational facilities and have, over time, fallen into the depths of abandonment. The schools are left with hollow lockers, bookless libraries and childless hallways. The photographs in “Hallowed Halls: Abandoned Schools of Louisiana” are an exploration of the remnants in these institutions which no longer serve their civic duty of educating the young public. They have lost their original purpose and become homes for imprints left behind by children who have long since moved on. The halls are no longer filled with bustling students; instead they hold simple vignettes of the past. A chalkboard, warped and tattered, but still holding it’s last lesson in white, powdery dust, a trophy once held in the hands of a young basketball star now sits in a heap of rusted dreams. For some of these schools, only a few hundred yards away lay a state of the art educational facility, others have been tattered by Katrina’s onslaught and a few have simply been too small to teach too many. The reasons for these schools closures are irrelevant to the work as a whole, though their stories are interesting. For whatever reason, they have ceased to exist as intended. There is something infinitely human about recording the things we leave behind, turn away from or forget. I find myself drawn to examining the vestiges of humanity that linger in forgotten places. It is not merely the abandonment I am responding to or the structures themselves, but it is the items left behind in those structures that I find so intriguing. The empty desks with empty chairs, cafeterias, libraries and locker lined hallways all trigger memories and feelings from my years spent in classrooms. The schools of my past have been consecrated in my mind as places of growth and future. Though the schools I photograph have not grown since their closures and have uncertain futures, what is left behind tells a much more significant story.
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*** These Images are printed 10x10 on Ilford Warmtone Silver Gelatin Photographic Paper.
Prices: (prices do not include tax or shipping)
Print Only: $200.00
Framed & Matted: $300.00