My Journey from Rogue Photographer to Decay Devil
Before the Decay Devils came to be, I was just a rogue photographer and videographer. The first place I ever visited was City Methodist (aka “The Church”) with my family. I took my nephew and a few cousins, and we filmed a video for my song titled “Up and Down” in the Fall of 2010. Music and film captured my heart, but the discovery of these mammoth abandoned structures piqued my interest. I began to center all my creative work around abandoned structures in Gary, Indiana. I shot multiple music videos and staged many photoshoots.
In May of 2012, I arranged a photoshoot with Miki. This was our first interaction, and we met at The Church. She invited her family to tag along while I photographed her. We discussed her love for photography and her desire to capture relics like The Church and other locations. We had a great connection, so I invited her to explore with me in the future.
Miki and I ventured to numerous locations, but we didn’t get to shoot much because Miki was so terrified. She would cling to my arm while we navigated buildings, and getting good shots became an afterthought. We were just there for the adrenaline rush. Some places were easy to explore, but others were extremely intimidating and dangerous. We agreed that adding a third person to the team would ease the tension inside these desolate locations.
I eventually reached out to Lori. Lori and I worked on a film titled “Emily” in 2011, and I knew she would be down to join us. The only catch was that Lori lived in Indianapolis. So, when she came to visit Gary one weekend, I immediately called her and asked her to join us. She simply replied, “Okay.” Lori wasn’t a photographer, but she was intrigued with the idea of urban exploration.
We took our first trip to Detroit in December of 2012. The crew consisted of Lori, Miki, Buttercup (my assistant for a few photoshoots), and myself.
We explored as much as we could when Lori was in town, but the distance between us restrained the frequency of our adventures. Miki eventually reached out to Angela on Instagram and invited her to explore Manteno with us in March of 2013. Neither one of us knew Angela at all, so our initial encounter was extremely uncomfortable. I remember asking Miki, “How do you know her?” She replied “I don’t. I just met her today.” I was beyond paranoid to say the least. Essentially, we were playing in abandoned buildings with strangers. Doesn’t sound like a good time at all.
But Angela was good, and our explorations led us to numerous locations over the upcoming months. We traveled to Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, and other parts of Indiana. After a trip to Indianapolis to visit Lori around May of 2013, we decided to name our group. The Decay Devils were official. The rest is history.