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Pennhurst State School and Hospital Abandoned America Workshop

Posted: 12th December 2014

Location: Spring City, PA
Sorry, no future workshops are planned at this location

The Site: Pennhurst's story echoes that of many of the asylums and institutions. Built in 1908 with high hopes and a sprawling campus that had everything a community could need - including a barber shop, a greenhouse, a fire station, a movie theater, and a general store - Pennhurst rapidly devolved into a site synonymous with well documented overcrowding and neglect that caused the adults and children who resided there to regress further and further from functionality. In 1968 a disturbing documentary featuring the site titled 'Suffer the Little Children' was produced wherein a visibly distraught reporter chronicled abysmal conditions including one interview where a doctor openly admitted to giving a bully among the residents the most painful injection he could concoct to deter him from abusing others. Ultimately it was closed in 1986 amid a storm of charges of physical and sexual abuse, improper restraint and seclusion, corruption, mismanagement, and neglect. Click here for past Abandoned America galleries of Pennhurst's buildings.

During the workshop we will have access to the overgrown grounds as well as the enormous Mayflower and Devon buildings. This is an unprecedented opportunity to visit a place that has been a legendary source of fantastic images for decades.

The Workshop: During the workshop I will be on hand to help you get better shots - including a basic introduction to 360 degree panoramas upon request. I know some of you are just taking the tour to see the location, and if that's the case I'll stay out of your way and let you do your thing. Learning to use a tripod, what file format to shoot in, how to compose shots better, what ISO, F-Stop, and shutter speed affect, and how to do things like exposure bracketing are very important to your results. As a trained architectural photographer I am able to help you get not just beautiful but technically correct images that you'll be amazed by. Don't feel afraid to ask me even questions that may seem silly to you. I want you to leave with pictures you're proud of. I've been doing this for a while and want you to learn from my mistakes and successes.

Rules/Safety: You need to be very aware of your safety. I encourage you to always pay attention to your surroundings. It is easy to twist an ankle or trip in some areas, and there are many ticks lurking in the underbrush so we recommend pants, boots, and a long sleeved shirt. You will be asked to sign a waiver before you enter acknowledging that you are entering a potentially unsafe environment and that you will not hold me liable for any harm that may befall you or your equipment. Obviously the first priority on the trip, even before taking great pictures, is making sure that you are safe - but you will need to be the one looking out for that. Potential risks include but are not limited to uneven terrain and fall hazards, insect/wildlife bites, and airborne/environmental contaminants. We will take precautions to ensure the safety of participants but by signing up for the workshop you are acknowledging that you accept known and unknown risks are present and will not hold any organizations/individuals involved in the workshop liable for any injuries or damages that may occur. If you have questions, feel free to send them to me.

What to bring:
- a bottle of water
- sturdy boots that protect your feet
- respirator or dust mask
- your tripod
- a fully charged cell phone
- your camera manual if you're unsure how to change settings. I can help you find the information you need in the manual but most cameras have their own ways of accessing features and changing settings and that makes things a lot easier.
- It's not necessary but a remote shutter switch is a nice thing to have and you can get a cheap one on Amazon for about $6 depending on your camera.

By signing up you agree to the following terms: Please make sure you check the email associated with your Paypal account for confirmation/updates! Your Paypal receipt is your confirmation, an email will follow with further details no less than a week prior to the event. You will need to sign a waiver to participate in this event, a sample of which can be found here. By signing up for this workshop you agree not to use information attained before or during the workshop to illegally trespass or set up alternate workshops/events.

REFUND POLICY: If you are unable to attend an event and notify me at admin@abandonedamerica.org more than 30 days prior to the event, you will be issued a full refund minus a $40 processing fee. Because of the extremely limited tour spots, if it is within 30 days of the event there are NO REFUNDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES except in case of workshop cancellation by Abandoned America. You may give or sell a paid spot in the workshop to someone else if you are unable to attend but admission may not be transferred to another event. There is always a possibility that the workshop may need to be moved to a different date based on severe inclement weather, safety concerns, or site manager's limitations. If this is the case notification will be given immediately and a refund will be offered if attendee is unable to make the alternate date. We cannot be held liable for travel, rental, or other costs incurred by attendee in the event of workshop cancellation. We do make every effort to ensure all events run on schedule. All sales are final.

If you have questions or are thinking about signing up, please read the Workshop FAQ Page! Send me a note at admin@abandonedamerica.org if you need to know anything else. If the PayPal link is immediately below this there are still open spots.

Sorry, no future workshops are planned at this location!

If you are interested in purchasing an Abandoned America print, please follow this link!


Photo comment By Jerry Keefer: Please let me know if a spot opens up!
Photo comment By Jeff: If possible please let me know about upcoming workshops! This is very interesting but too short of notice as I just saw this today
Photo comment By Ken Beerger: If you have a mailing list for future trips, please add me to it, thanks
Photo comment By Jimmy: Would love to be notified about future shoot to Pennhurst or other abandoned locations. If you have mailing list would like to be on this if possible.
Photo comment By RIZWAN khan: soooo sweet
Photo comment By Amanda Spina: I would love to know when another date opens up for this event!
Photo comment By Danielle: I am interested in upcoming shoots and if you have a mailing list, can you please add me.
Photo comment By Liz Salerno: Very interested in any upcoming dates. Do you have a mailing list or newsletter?
Photo comment By Sara R: Would love to know about future dates. Just devastated about Greystone and wish I could have seen the inside! Would love to see this beauty!
Photo comment By EllenStrange: Please let me know of upcoming dates to this location. Would love to join in on the fun!
Photo comment By Joan Nelson: I would like to be notified when you have 2016 schedule. I am very interested in doing one of your workshops. Thank you so much.
Photo comment By Sara Robertson: Excited for the 2016 schedule!
Photo comment By Myron Slabaugh: Would like to be put onto your future events list. What is chance to revisit Pennhurst... have wanted to get in Pennhurst for ...years.
Photo comment By Julie: Will you be doing this shoot again in 2017?

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