The newspaper where I work has a new editor who encouages the multimedia aspect of the business. So I’ve been working on producing videos, one of the tasks I’ve taught myself in the wake of cataclysmic changes in journalism.
The idea for “Requiem for Mayview” came when I was driving past a former psychiatric hospital near my home, in suburban Pittsburgh. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had sold the property a few years before, and the new owners were preparing to develop the site.
That meant the hospital’s rapidly deteriorating buildings wouldn’t be around forever.
So one sunny Saturday in November, I walked along the public thoroughfare Mayview Road and simply aimed my Canon toward everything that was visible from the street.
You can see the results by clicking here. For the soundtrack, I was thinking of using some improvisational guitar by Kawabata Makoto that I downloaded from the public-domain Live Music Archive. But then I figured, I’ll do it myself. I also improvised, though nowhere in the same league as Kawabata.
At first I was going to display the photos in color, but then I figured black-and-white would better convey the tone of the doomed old hospital.
What do you think? From my perspective, it goes on too long, but I had a lot of photos I thought were display-worthy. The viewer can shut it off whenever he or she would like, so no big deal.
I’m working on a project involving the brick barn that once served Mayview: The hospital had its own farm to feed residents there and at other state hospitals. The barn is the last vestige of the farm, and the elected officials of the township that owns it (where I happen to live) have decided that demolishing it would be a lot cheaper than trying to adapt it for future use.
This morning, I interviewed some folks who would like to save the barn, and I’ll use excerpts as the narrative for a similar video. Look for that on Jan. 30.
In the meantime, check out “Requiem for Mayview.”