Rooftopping Versus Skywalking

Rooftopping is not about hanging yourself from the edge of a building.

Skywalking has been promoted in the media as rooftopping, incorrectly.

Urban exploration is not about taking silly risks with your life. Urban explorers take photographs, are careful as they explore, don’t litter or vandalize and they make it home again to upload their photographs. Taking photographs is not to prove you were there, or show how much of a thrill seeker you are. The photos document the place you visited, not the fact that you, in particular, were there. Rooftopping is not performance art.

Some explorers like to be underground in tunnels, drains and other types of big holes in the ground. Some (maybe the same people) like to be far above ground, to see everything from a new angle and look at all the city lights.

The first rooftopping photo was taken in Toronto, Ontario. The photograph showed the city far below with the photographer’s shoes hanging over the edge of the tall building they were sitting on. (Note, sitting on, not hanging or dangling from).

If you enjoy dangling yourself from a crane join a circus or take up construction and learn how to do it safely. Have some care and respect for yourself and be here (relatively undamaged) for your own further adventures, tomorrow.

Why Do We Like History?

Do you have something you tell people when they ask you why you explore the old places? I can say a few words about history, a love for the old workmanship, etc. But, there is more to it. Things I don’t put into words because they make me seem a sad and lonely person. I don’t feel that way about myself. But, if my photographs are about preserving the past and feelings of things lost, fading and forgotten… I think that says something about me. It makes me seem needy, vulnerable. So, I don’t have an answer for the question of why I explore, other than touching the surface about liking history.

The email I’ve cut and pasted below was from 2011. I thought it would be easy to send a reply back, but I’ve never managed to answer the question without feeling vulnerable or lacking sincerity. I could have sent a fluff answer. But, I don’t want to. Some day there will be nothing left of me but what I did, wrote or photographed. None of those things are permanent. My existence will slip through history, like most people. The least I can do is put integrity and honesty into the very little remnants there will be.

I think about this still. The question I thought would be simple to answer, but isn’t.

Thanks for sending the link. Your photos look wonderful. You’ve definitely got a better eye through the lens than I.

I’ve spoken to a couple of environmental historians and the message seems to be the same. For your collection to be of use to a historian for research purposes, it would need extensive metadata about exactly where and when the photos were taken. Preferably following a standard metadata convension used by professional archivists (eg, Dublin Core http://dublincore.org/).

The historians also believed that your collection is much more likely to be of interest to someone for research purposes in 30 or 40 years and that perhaps then the interest would be in you as a photographer interested in old buildings, as opposed to the contents of the photos themselves.

Having said that, the photos are great and if you’d like to write a few paragraphs about why you’ve decided to take them and why you think it’s important to preserve these types of buildings on film, we’d be happy to share the story and a link to your photos on our news feed. Our readers tend to have a keen interest in the past and how we can understand the past. Your knowledge of photography and preserving would certainly be worth understanding further.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Adam Crymble

Stop Calling them Uniforms

mountiecostumeWhen a uniform becomes customized for various cultures it stops being a uniform. A uniform is… uniform. When it isn’t uniform, all the same, then it becomes similar, not uniform. If the Mounties, police, fire fighters, etc. want to adapt their uniform doesn’t it become a costume? I think allowing various cultures (I am purposely not being specific because the specific culture is not the issue) to have different uniforms makes the uniform mean less.

The original point of a uniform was identification, everyone looking the same, being recognizable and having respect. You see the Mounties and know who they are by the uniform. If you see someone wearing a Mountie costume, you think they are on the way to a party and you don’t consider them someone you need to pay much attention to. Badges don’t mean much from a distance, behind a door or to anyone who couldn’t tell a real badge from a fake one.

People in authority like Mounties, military and government employees need to be recognizable in order to have that authority and be trusted. Since we were children we have seen Mounties in their dress uniforms and we expect a Mountie to be in that uniform.

But, more than the public, what about the Mounties themselves? Why change the uniform which has severed generations of Mounties of all cultures up until now? I’m assuming all Mounties have two arms, two legs, one head so they should all be able to wear the standard uniform. What is the real need for change in this very old tradition worn with pride by generations of people.

I don’t know. But, I do think they should stop calling them uniforms, because they aren’t uniforms any more. That tradition has been lost. mountie

The Labyrinth of Ordinary Humans

Found a nice quote on another lost urbex site. The direct link is hijacked by the Webring code. I found the site thanks to the Wayback Machine.

“It’s not about busting into businesses and bragging about trespassing. It’s about living a time that is rapidly disappearing, sinking under a new city. The undoctored past is a rare thing to have the privilege to experience, especially because this is not the past of kings or generals or millionaire mansions. This is the past of sewer and drain workers,  factory workers, builders, tunnelers – ordinary people who built the labyrinthine hive of humans, that maze of rooms and halls above ground and under that we know as – a city.”

– Jacques

urbanwanderers
Source: Exploring The Twin Cities’ Underground

Indians in a Snow Storm

I will have to look up more about John Innes and see what else he painted. I like this one. Just happened to notice it for sale on Etsy.

My Grandfather told my Mother about meeting Canadian native people on the Saskatchewan prairies when he was a young man and the family were just off the boat from Austria. It’s too bad she doesn’t remember more about it. He (my Grandfather) thought very well of the native people and dealt with them often.

The art is called Indians in a Snow Storm. I’m not changing it to reflect modern political correctness. It is, as it was. johninnespostcard

This art postcard features the work of Canadian artist John Innes and was published by W G Macfarlane for Linton Brothers of Calgary. It is part of the Troilene Indians series and shows several Indian riders bundled up and making their way through blowing snow. “The blizzard is not a snow storm. The snow frozen by the intense cold to the consistency of sand is picked up by the fierce Northwest hurricanes and travels at terrific speed. Many lives are lost during these blizzards yearly”.
The card has an undivided back although the sender thoughtfully created one. The card is postally used and cancelled in 1906. Good overall condition makes this a wonderful addition to a collection.

via – Canadian Artist John Innes Indians in a Snow by TheOldBarnDoor

What’s Lost in Your Backyard?

I read this post (link follows) about items found by people at their own homes. Some of them dug something up. Some of them found something lost and forgotten and some just got lucky. In every case people took an interest and explored.

An explorer should not neglect their own backyard.

If you found something would you hope it was valuable, mysterious or historical? Would you feel a bit let down without a mix of all of those? I would!

While digging up their backyard, looking for worms to take on an upcoming fishing trip, two sisters from Kitchener, Canada stumbled upon a curious object. Deep in the ground, they found something transparent and shiny, with a bluish hue. At first they thought that it was part of a meteorite, however, earth sciences professor Phil McCausland disagreed, saying that the visible layer of the object should have been much darker if it really was part of a meteorite. Then, a gem expert, Gary Winkler, was contacted and asked to analyze the object. He found that it was definitely not a gem of any known kind. He also speculated that the object was not of natural origins but that a person deliberately buried it. No matter what it was, the sisters were going to keep it.

  • gold coins
  • a machine gun
  • church bell
  • ancient stone
  • forgotten graves
  • fossils
  • lost loot
  • cursed objects
  • rocks from outer space
  • unexploded bombs
  • jewellery
  • mysterious objects
  • forgotten shelters
  • drugs
  • cars

Source: 25 Unusual Things You Won’t Believe Were Found In A Backyard

Barrie in the Ontario Highway 11 Blog

The following is my comment on the post about Barrie, on the site about places along Highway 11 in Ontario.

I think your review of Barrie was good. I’ve been here about 10 years now. I grew up in Port Union, Ontario, before it became Scarborough, and after. Barrie is pretty suburban still. Downtown Barrie still has a lot of bars and drinking night life. The box malls and shopping in general didn’t get into downtown Barrie, just the outskirts. It helps keep traffic from being completely locked up during weekends when there are people out shopping and even more people navigating the cottage highway. There is a new mall going up not far from where I am. It will be right at the highway turn off for Duckworth, where the hospital and Georgian College are. The two lane bridge which ran under the highway is being done over. A big project but it has been needed for a long time. Living in Barrie I especially like being on the lake and actually seeing it. I grew up on Lake Ontario and I have missed having a big lake nearby – it was one of the reasons I picked Barrie. Last note, for anyone traveling to Barrie in the winter, it does get colder here as we are at least a couple of snow belts up from the weather in the GTA.

Source: Barrie | Ontario Highway 11 Blog

Nice idea for a blog/ site. If you are along the highway have a look at your town.

Ghost Preservation Worse Than Demolition?

This is not preserving history. It looks like a skin graft that didn’t take. A mask to be taken off when the party is over. I haven’t noticed anything like this before, but, I’m not living in Toronto these days.

Worse than demolition? I don’t know. I doubt something left like this will be maintained with the same effort as the newer building which really is part of the structure. How likely is the old facade to be left to crumble away when it really isn’t needed. Just an attempt at making peace with local historians.

This is why I love the photographs of the original places. It is sad that photographic technology hasn’t always had all the options for colour and detail which we have now. Yet, what will people a hundred years from now think of our obsolete images? Nothing can really be preserved, it can only be kept a little longer.

London is filled with grafted facades, nearly two-dimensional artifacts held in place while updated buildings are constructed behind them; many seem to haphazardly half-disguise the boring new stru…

Source: Saving Face: ‘Ghost Facade’ Preservation Worse Than Demolition? | Urbanist

Original Alma’s Family Restaurant – Permanently Closed?

almaselmvaleclosedSource: Original Alma’s Family Restaurant The – Google Maps

Alma’s was a great place to stop while touring around rural Ontario (Elmvale area). I hope it isn’t true that it has permanently closed. But, I know the owners were not young people any more and likely they decided this was the year to retire.

I will miss it.

They Make Horror Movies Here, Don’t They (2007)

I don’t know the history of this house or what happened to it since I took the photos in 2007. But, this is the only place I have ever felt a hint of something odd. I don’t completely believe in ghosts and I don’t believe in evil (not in a Biblical way) but I do think bad atmosphere hangs around and can stick with people and places. Possible Horror Movie Site Wood Picture 1322503244 Possible Horror Movie Site The Pit 1322502000 Possible Horror Movie Site Release the Hounds 1321611525 Possible Horror Movie Site Front Entrance 1322503062 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322503474 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322502824 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322502328 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322501632