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  • Writer's pictureMeka

Gothic Glory Gone

Photo: Jonathan Miano Photos, The Times

My immediate reaction to the above article was, "Oh no!"

A friend sent this to me a couple of days ago. She knew it would affect me, because just earlier this year, I had the privilege to visit this once magnificent building and photograph a divine couple together. By their request! The two of them inspired me so much. They were genuinely in love. They were laughing and focused and warm and beautiful throughout the entire shoot. It felt so natural. It might have felt surreal to be with them there in the midst of this huge, dilapidated building, but somehow they transformed the place, and made it exude the same energy as they were giving.

This is what is left of the City United Methodist Church of Gary, Indiana. I was terrified when I thought about bringing people into a place destined to be demolished. Can we even get in? How much light will I get? What if someone's leg gets caught in a rotten floor board? Should I bring my nephew to be our security guard? Should I ask for the city's permission to shoot here?! It's good to consider all angles, right?

Photos: ©Spidermeka Photography 2014.

I brought my dearest friend, Heather, to scout out the location with me before the scheduled shoot. Ride-Or-Die friends are the best. We got there, entering was surprisingly easy, and right away she thought I was nuts. "You're going to shoot here?!" she asked incredulously. I looked around. I saw that the floor boards weren't completely rotted. The sunlight streaming in was more gorgeous than I imagined. My car was parked in a safe, private lot. "Absolutely!" was my response.

An excitement shot through me. This old, broken, spray-painted, stained glass, naturally lit building had character! Just what my lovely clients were looking for.

We met there a couple days later. As the photographer, it's prolly not right for me to use the words I want to describe how the best shots turned out. It would sound self-gratifying, no?

I can say that the shoot was rewarding. I can say that my clients liked the results. I can say that Heather, who also acted as my awesome assistant for the day, no longer called me crazy, and volunteered to help out again should I need her. These are good things.

Thanks, Julie and Eric, again, for giving me an awesome project to be creative and adventurous with. Thanks, Heather, for always being a fearless force by my side and ready for whatever wackiness comes next. And thanks, Gary Methodist Church... for not collapsing while we were there? No, seriously, thanks for remaining stunning, even in your dilapidated, haunting state, and letting us include and honor you in a memorable way.


Photos: ©Spidermeka Photography 2014.

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