- The Stash -
I generally feel fairly safe when photographing these deserted buildings since they are often devoid of life but there are a few locations where even after a building is no longer occupied, life continues to thrive. Sometimes it's a bird that flew in through a broken pane of glass or a family of raccoons that crawled into the attic but these types of intruders are far more scared of you than you are of them. Then there are the people that go to these places after they become disused, more often than not it's photographers or "urban explorers" who like to visit these places for various reasons and generally do not pose a threat to the buildings themselves. There are also the vandals, taggers and scrappers, who do not have good intentions and end up leaving these spaces in worse condition than before they arrived. The third type of person you can find in these places, although far less common, are the drug addicts and the squatters. They are usually harmless and generally stay away from any other visitors but they can be unpredictable and therefore should be avoided.
I visited this urban hotel and knew that it had a bit of a reputation beforehand and had heard that squatters were currently using the space. During this visit I was not exploring alone and so with caution I wandered the hallways of this 100+ year old hotel taking note that many of the doors to the rooms were closed, I avoided those parts initially since I didn't want to walk in on someone that called the 15x15 foot space home. After having seen most of the building with a general idea of the areas I wanted to photograph, I walked through the space again to see what was behind some of the closed doors. Knocking first before opening doors, I did not find anything that different from the other rooms. There were definitely signs of squatters throughout the hotel with half eaten food laying around amongst the used needles and other drug paraphernalia, but fortunately nobody was there at the time.