Callan Park Insane Asylum was abandoned in the last decade of last century. Legislation governing the site has ensured that the only uses for this 60-acre reserve in the inner western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, are related to health and education. This is no doubt to the chagrin of property developers as the real estate value of this land, in one of the world’s most expensive cities, is no doubt immense.
The majority of the buildings have been left as they were when last occupied and in the twenty years since the locks were last turned, light, temperature and time have begun to cast their spell here as they do anywhere we abandon. The fading curtains, the peeling paint, the decay documented in the late light of an autumn afternoon mirror the golden decay of the light.
These pictures were all shot with a Leica M9-P and a Summicron 50mm, the lens wide open for most of them. The ability of this combination to capture light and colour, and turn it into something a little more than just a document is why I continue to use this combination. While invariably electronic cameras degrade I’ll use this until it does and being a Leica, I would expect this may take even longer than it has taken for the paint to pull away from the walls of Callan Park.
Pictures & words contributed by Ess Vaun, Sydney based Leica photographer. M9-P, M3, Summicron 35 asph, Summicron 50mm.