“There’s a person sleeping over there,” the realtor said over her shoulder as we walked through the upper floor of the abandoned Trenton Times building. “Oof,” was all I could offer in response as I picked my way around debris and wondered how he had managed to get from one side of the open stairwell to the perch where he was currently slumped high above the ground across the way.

Quite often I am given a key or access to a venue to photograph and left to wander through, gauging ideal lighting and other technical negotiations the client is too busy to witness. In Trenton, this sometimes means trekking through dilapidated structures or rough neighborhoods. I am never excited about rummaging around inside the sad abandoned buildings of a broken city – especially when you run the risk of surprising people that might be living there temporarily – but this assignment has a lining of hope.

My task was to document everything for the buyer that is renovating the site into a Charter School. This part of the story makes it great. The future of this building is seemingly secure.

The first floor is completely boarded up – so no not much light to work with. I knew this ahead of time so I did multiple HDR shots from a tripod and had a hand held continuous light. It was great to finally get up on the roofs and discover that there are in fact two Trenton Times neon signs (in decent shape) one facing Perry St., the other Rt. 1 South – who knew?

The typography of the signage set against urban decay is of visual interest to me, telling the story of a bustling newspaper that has now moved on to bigger and brighter spaces, but knowing it will be a place where children learn and play is most interesting of all.