‘My work is different from typical abandoned imagery because I mix in elements of my personal story.’
Holly Hunt, Smith Point
“I’ve been photographing since I was 3 years old. My grandfather was a professional photographer who worked for newspapers in New York City. He was mostly a street photographer, but also captured images of celebrities like Truman Capote and Salvador Dali.
“His photos hung on the walls of the house that I grew up in and, although he died before I was born, his work inspired me. When I was in college, I started exploring abandoned locations. This activity has risks, and I’ve been warned off by authorities for trespassing. I always try to get permission to enter abandoned spaces. I mostly explore the Northeast, and sometimes the Midwest and the South.
“I don’t disclose locations because I want to protect these places which were once homes and/or spaces that gave people joy. I am never scared or uncomfortable in abandoned buildings; they feel like home to me. About 10 years ago, I started taking photos whilst exploring, and that’s how I established my trademark style. My work is different from typical abandoned imagery because I mix in elements of my personal story. A lot of my images are self-portraits where I am dressed in gowns amid structural ruins.
“My mother was my biggest supporter. She used to explore abandoned places with me when she was in her 60s! She passed away from cancer in 2017, but every photograph I take is in some way or form dedicated to her. On the day she died, a historian called me and gave me the opportunity to photograph an old house that stood less than a mile away from where Mom used to get her cancer treatments. I feel like that opportunity was a gift from her. I’ve won awards for my photos, recently been nominated for Best of Long Island in the photography category, and I’ve had my photography exhibited at the Heckscher Museum, which is especially cool because I was born and raised in Huntington.
My mother was my biggest supporter. She used to explore abandoned places with me when she was in her 60s!
“I work as a photography instructor; I love teaching. I recently transitioned to drone photography and self-portraits, which promote body positivity and self-love.”
Interviewed by Meagan J. Meehan