Chicagoland Photographer | Urban Explorers Unscripted


The Gary Methodist Church is an attraction for urban explorers from all over. Just check IG and you'll find all the amazing pictures. I feel lucky that I live so close to it and can go there on a whim. For a few years I've loved going there and I never know in what shape I'll find my beloved ruins.


Shannon, my intern and fellow photographer/ friend, and I decided to make use of last weeks only nice day and go explore a bit. Shannon had never been before so it was great to see it through her eyes. I hadn't been since end of last year and wanted to see if it's still standing tall in it's run down beauty.

It never disappoints! (the only thing that disappoints is finding other people's trash there.) The Winter took it's toll and a lot of the stairs, walls, hallways are broken down and sadly I think the days of exploring the upper levels of this abandoned church are counted.


A special treat was finding 2 hearts by @poetrybyboots. She writes beautiful poems and leaves them in abandoned places while she travels. She is a Chicago native but lives in Los Angeles. We might collab sometime soon when she comes to visit. Go check out her IG and Etsy store. I already ordered her books and can't wait to get them!

Our little excursion was completely unplanned and we simply wanted to document what we find. Since Shannon's casual vibe meshed so well with all the graffiti and ruins, I couldn't help myself but needed to capture her in these surroundings. All pictures shown are unretouched, unscripted as far as being in the moment and being spontaneous and meant to show how things are now.

I happened to have a smoke bomb in my car that had been there since last fall, so that was a lucky find between my car seats. I just wanted Shannon to have fun with it; without too much worry about what I'd be able to capture. This spontaneous outing was a great addition to Shannon's other shoots with me throughout her high school year.

18 Questions with Shannon

1. What's your favorite song right now? What do you play on repeat?:

I play anything from the new Maroon 5 album, Red Pill Blues, on repeat. “Whiskey” might be my favorite.

2. What are 3 things on your bucket list?:

1. See Morocco
2. Get a dream catcher tattoo
3. Become a foster mom for shelter dogs

3. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?:

45 minutes to an hour

4. If you could teleport where would you go?

I would teleport to Maine. I want to live there some day.

5. If you were a super hero, what's your power?

I would enjoy having telekinesis. It’s the ability to move things with your mind.

6. What animal would you want to be?

An elephant

7. If you were famous, what would you be famous for?

Hopefully my photography/artwork


8. Favorite cosmetic product you can't live without?

My nightly face masks

9. What fashion trend do you think is ridiculous?

I can’t stand the shaved line people have in their eyebrow.

10. What is your favorite outfit ever?

I’m a fall girl, so I love dark colors. Any floral shirt with a nice ripped jean, a long sweater, and fun booties.

11. What do you think is the most annoying habit of humans?

Our selfishness is something we all have but don’t necessarily recognize. If we put ourselves in other people’s shoes, I believe the world would be a happier place.

12. What would be the name of a movie you star in?

23 Jump Street

13. Favorite part of high school?

Joining yearbook was life-changing. I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

14. What is your favorite treat that you'd eat all the time if you could?

Pop tarts for sure. They’re so addicting.

15. What can you not live without?

My mom. She’s been my rock these whole 18 years.

16. Best book you've ever read?

Prozac Nation

17. If you could travel or move anywhere, where would that be?

I would travel to Morocco. It’s such an interesting culture that I feel is underestimated. The people would make for an incredible story with my camera. I want to learn more.

18. Why do you think it's important to do senior portraits? What was the best part?:

It’s important to see yourself in a different light. We all have this perceived notion of ourselves that sometimes isn’t so positive. Senior portraits show us the people we have grown into. My favorite part was getting to intern with Carmen and experiencing new shoots I wouldn’t have been able to do without her.

Thank you Shannon for going with me and for your great attitude to explore new things (all year)! Life as a teenager is not always sunshine and pop tarts but it's all about growth ;-) It's all about what you make of it and how you decide to see things and draw from past experiences. Every day is a conscious decision to make the best of it!

I personally love fallen apart things that become something new. All the people that have left their imprint in those abandoned walls felt the need to express something. It has inspired so many to create art and simply leave their mark. That's why I am so drawn to old places with a history and people that went through some stuff. It's a beautiful thing to let people in and bare a little piece of your soul. This church does that for me every time. It makes me feel more open and vulnerable and always kick starts my creativity again.

I hope you've enjoyed the pictures. We had such a great time and could've stayed forever! We are planning to go back soon...