The following article was written by Lisa Pellegrene, and was originally published by Patch.com on August 27, 2020. The article was later mentioned on News Break.

Thomas W.P. Slatin discusses his favorite Urban Exploration photographs from the past decade, beginning with an abandoned home, vintage car

Thomas W.P. Slatin, a renowned urban exploration, and adventure photographer is recapping the past decade of his photography work, selecting some of his best work from each year to share with the readers on Patch, on a weekly basis. He is also known for his stunning landscape and portrait photography, which will be featured as well in the forthcoming weeks. Each Thursday, Slatin will share some insight, as well his actual photographs from each notable photography shoot, to include links where you can find even more of the photographs through his website. Photography enthusiasts, seasoned photographs or those starting out in photography who would like to review his work, and/or to be able to have a discussion with Slatin about his work, are welcome to do so by contacting him at www.tomslatin.com. The photographs and summaries of the interviews with Thomas Slatin provide an interesting glimpse at his love of photography, coupled with knowledge in terms of what it takes to obtain stunning photographs, and how one’s passion, namely Slatin’s, has turned into a viable career and an ongoing joyful adventure for him. Going back to 2010, Thomas Slatin selected a photoshoot of an abandoned house, and a vintage car as his two favorites to discuss.

When asked how he found the house that he photographed in Ashland, Pennsylvania, Slatin discusses “stumbling upon” it, after visiting Centralia, PA.

“It was in 2010 that I decided to travel to Centralia, Pennsylvania, with the objective to photograph the last remaining structures there.” Continuing, “I learned about the town history and of the devastating underground fire which has been burning since 1962. Unfortunately, the information that I had found online at the time was outdated and there were very few, if any buildings remaining in Centralia. So after leaving Centralia, I traveled to nearby Ashland, Pennsylvania, and this is where I found an abandoned house which was slated for demolition. This is the house I photographed.”

Slatin photographed the property utilizing a digital camera, namely the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. He set the camera to black and white to better show the effect of light and shadow within the house. Recalling the details of the property Slatin states, ” The house had holes in the walls, the floors, and in the roof, which created a very interesting effect when I photographed the interior, especially in black and white. This location was slated for demolition, so getting permission from the landowner was very easy relating to this specific property.” It was at this time Slatin discussed, “usually finding interesting properties to photography completely by finding them by happenstance.” There was little pre-production work at that time, according to Slatin. He found the property while exploring the area, and immediately sought permission from the landowner, and then immediately photographed the property.

The home in Ashland, piqued Slatin’s interest because of how “unique it was” according to Slatin, stating, “Literally, everything was left behind, unfortunately the entire house was in a serious state of decay, the floors were uneven, causing all of the furniture to fall over. The home was filled with vintage clothing items, though due to the decades of abandonment, most of these items were destroyed and most items were barely recognizable.” Continuing, “I especially liked the old metal bed frame in the front hallway, the retro chair on the back porch, the tattered curtains, and the classic asphalt simulated brick covering on the outside walls.I took a total of fifty photographs, but due to the harsh lighting inside of the home, I selected 18 to show to the public through my portfolio of work.”

Slatin discussed the difficulty obtaining photographs in harsh lighting situations, especially when utilizing a digital camera. “
These photographs represent my first attempts at capturing the right lighting in harsh light situations and I learned through experience about the proper exposure using digital technology.” Concluding, “The definite advantage of using film to photograph is that the metering is easy and the film is generally forgiving of subtle differences in light versus shadow; however, digital is extremely sensitive to these subtle differences, which often creates a challenge to even the most seasoned of photographers.”

Slatin also selected photographs of an old car that he found along the southern New York and Connecticut border as one of his favorite photographs in 2010. “I found it interesting that the car was relatively well preserved even though it was obviously left in the elements for seemingly decades.”

When Slatin was asked what he learned in 2010, his answer was patience. “When I was growing up, I often got too caught up in all that life has to offer, and wanted to experience as many different things as possible, and my attention was diverted from one thing to another. What I came to realize, especially as it relates to my photography, is that – if I am too focused on seeing everything, I will in fact be overlooking the little details which are important too, perhaps more so. I learned that it is in the details often which reflect the times in my life that truly matter to me.”

The entire photoshoot may be viewed at www.tomslatin.com/empty-house-edit/.

Check back next Thursday, September 3rd for another favorite photoshoot of Slatin’s where the photographs and a lot of insight will be provided.

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