Sunday, November 3, 2019

November 2019: Room 211

Another photo from this summer's Asylum shoot. This was a door to a patient's room/cell. Like most of the paint in the buildings, the paint on the door was peeling off. There were a few things which drew me to this particular door however. It was one of the few which still had the number on it in such good condition, for one. And then I noticed that the numbers were hand-painted. (How long has it been since that was done in any state facility, let alone one operating in the mental health field?) But what really got me about this door is that something had been stuck to the door above the number. It would have been something personal to the patient whose room it was. A photo perhaps. Maybe just a name on a card. But something, and something to identify that specific person. In an institutional setting, especially for a patient struggling with issues of identity, whatever was there on that door was important. Possibly even a physical anchor which grounded that person as to who they even were, beyond just being "the patient in room 211".

I don't know what was on the door, or who lived in that room. But it was a person with a name and a life. And that was worth remembering as I clambered over the crumbling ceiling plaster and around piles of wood looking for the next shot.