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One day Carolyn Kina’s brother asked if she wanted to tag along with him and some friends to an abandoned hospital. At first, Carolyn said she was a little hesitant and didn’t know why she was going there, but she thought she’d take her camera along.
While there, she said she took plenty of pictures and her fascination with photographing abandoned buildings has stuck with her.
“It was kind of random,” Kina of Owings said of discovering her new hobby. But, once she took that first picture at the hospital, she said, “I thought it would be cool to get houses and other places.”
Since then, Kina has been photographing deserted houses throughout Calvert County and surrounding areas as well as several vacant and neglected hospitals.
She said she knew of many of the homes in Calvert she has photographed because she grew up in the county and was aware that they’ve been vacant for years. The subjects of photos she has taken in Calvert include abandoned homes off of Mt. Harmony, Plum Point, Chaney and Dalrymple roads. Her other photo subjects she said she has found by driving around and researching abandoned buildings online.
Recently, Kina was featured in a CNN piece about photographers who wander abandoned structures taking photos and the cultural phenomenon that is photographing abandoned structures.
“There’s definitely a huge community that photograph abandoned buildings,” she explained, adding that she has a few friends who accompany her to take photos of the deserted structures as well.
When deciding on whether she wants to photograph a particular abandoned structure, Kina said she canvases the building by looking at it, walks around it to determine if it has the character that she’s looking for, “and if I’m still interested a few weeks later, I’ll get photos.”
While exploring abandoned buildings, Kina said she is “super cautious” because she knows they may not be structurally sound and that she could get into some trouble — though she hasn’t yet.
To test out the building and determine if it’s safe and secure to investigate and photograph, she said she relies on the first level.
“If I’m on the first level and it’s not squishy” she’s going into the rest of the building, she explained.
“The main thing I like is just getting a good photograph,” she said. “It’s just thrilling getting the photos.”
One of her favorite photos is one she took while canvassing a home along Route 2 in Anne Arundel County. Upon walking into one of the derelict rooms, Kina discovered a “perfectly” made bed.
“It was already set up like that,” she said. “It just made for a really creepy, cool photograph.”
Since venturing into her first hospital with her brother and his friends, Kina said she has visited and photographed several others, but one place she would love to get into is the Jacob Tome School For Boys in Port Deposit, which later became the Bainbridge U.S. Naval Training Center.
“I’ve gotten a few of the houses on there, but I’ve never made it to the house for boys,” she said, adding that maybe one day she would try to revisit it.
“It’s a pretty cool building. It’s super pretty. They have awesome architecture.”