Last to Leave Abandoned House

Mackenzie Moltov in abandoned house

If you’ve been following our work over the past five years, you already know how important our creative shoots are to our growth as artists. Our longest and most in depth project, titled “The Last to Leave“, is a series of abandoned shoots with Philadelphia clown babe and sideshow performer, Mackenzie Moltov. We have photographed her in abandoned amusement parks, crumbling mental institutions, and defunct swinger’s resorts. We have never been afraid of crossing over from wedding photography to our weird artistic shoots. Our ideal clients appreciate the fact that we’re always shooting and learning and stretching our creative muscles. Being creative under pressure is what makes our wedding photography so strong, and there is no greater pressure than creating beauty in dangerous, scary structures that you’re not allowed to be in, especially for those of us who are sensitive to the energies and sadness trapped in these locations.

We are always looking for different types of buildings to shoot in. I think our urbex shoots are different from most of what’s out there because of the stories we try to tell. We do our homework about the history of the building and try to come up with costuming and a theme to focus on. I feel like it makes them more complex, even if it’s not always clear to the viewer what they are. For this shoot, in an abandoned house, we explored Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder which is often triggered by a traumatic event. It affects twice as many women as men and in severe cases can render people terrified to leave their homes at all.

We had never done a shoot in an abandoned house, and this was one of the more bizarre places we’ve photographed in this series. This one was striking in how full of everyday life it was. It was as if someone had just walked out of their lives and left behind every bit of it. There was still a car in the driveway, still a pair of reading glasses on the coffee table. Beautiful paintings still hung on the walls and the kitchen filled to the brim with every dish and cooking equipment you could possibly want. These were people who cared about this home, about renovating it while keeping it’s farmhouse charm. Parts of this home were more disturbing than others. There were areas that were still fairly clean and usable, and some so filthy and disgusting it was tough to breathe. We didn’t get many shots in the bedroom, simply because it was so awful and painful to be in. There seemed to have been a dog trapped in the home for some time, things were chewed from desperation. The walls felt soaked with such sadness it was unbearable.  I think this one got to all of us, just because of how deeply personal every item felt.  

Sparkly dress made by Lara Tayor 

Photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield

Our “Last To Leave” series with clown babe Mackenzie Moltov not only continues to be a real passion in our personal artistic projects, but it evolves, takes shape and becomes something entirely different with each beautifully abandoned building we’re fortunate enough to photograph.  Our goal is always to honor the space, and to try to tell a story, whether it’s an abandoned amusement park, swinger’s resort or mental institution. Every time I think we have enough shoots to complete the art book that this will one day become, a new opportunity presents itself, and we will never say no to an amazing opportunity to create more art.

This time we lucked out with a little location help from a new friend who wishes to remain anonymous.  We hadn’t explored a former school with Mackenzie before, and shooting in different types of buildings is always the goal.  It was just a few days after the school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.  I knew it was a sensitive subject, but we’ve never shied away from provocative artwork. Although we did receive some pretty ugly internet hatred for our Bad Mommy , it is important to us as artists that we don’t shy away from sensitive subjects. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to let the tragedy and on-going discussion about gun control affect our work.  It was paramount to me that we treat the subject delicately, which isn’t easy when your subject is a clown and you’re loaded with toy guns.   I truly hope we achieved that goal. 

Photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield