I walked into the abandoned building on a routine assignment for photography class and halted, my chucks pushing a small pile of old candy wrappers and beer cans. I’d never seen anything like this place. Perhaps once, when I was in Notre Dame Cathedral when someone had left a window open and the sun shone through it in just the right way. But this was different.
That day in Paris, even though I didn’t believe in God, I couldn’t help but feel like He was trying to send me some sort of message. But that was in a church and it was nowhere near as beautiful as this antiquated, unused building that witnessed the ravages of time and disuse.
Yes, I was surrounded by garbage, an overflowing dumpster and all kinds of junk. The building was collapsing, and I hadn’t been charged a certain number of Euros or queued in an hour-long line to get in. The bright light wasn’t pouring in through a stained glass window that was in itself a work of art; here it spilled in via the surrendered ceiling in an abandoned building that probably should have been condemned years ago.
Part of the roof hung down by a girder. A breeze made it swing slightly and a creaking sound emitted from it, echoing off the emptiness. Rain had rusted the metal bars on the windows and the reddish-brown color spilled down the whitewashed walls of the what was probably an old warehouse. This was no Notre Dame, and yet it was more beautiful to me than anything I had ever witnessed before.
I snapped off a few shots and looked at the camera’s screen. The rays of sun bounced off the dusty air to create the illusion of substance. The light, so bright, washed out the image just a bit and created that feeling I had in my gut that, if there was a God, He was right there with me. Even the trash looked beautiful as it was washed with the bright illumination of our planet’s lightgiver.
I snapped off a few more shots and then the room dimmed a bit as a cluster of clouds must have passed overhead. My sigh reverberated through the room, hiding the creaking of the dangling ceiling, and as I walked out the echoed shuffling of my chucks followed.
Top photograph by Manon, whose blog can be found here.