Photography by Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield of Black, White and Raw Photography
Clown Babe: MacKenzie Moltov
Styled by Stephen Michael Quick (Ann Archy Artist) of Philly Aids Thrift
Location: Letchworth Village
We are a team of photographers based out of Philly who have been working for a few years on a series of shoots with MacKenzie Moltov, sideshow performer and clown babe. In these shoots we explore a variety of abandoned locations as a way to breathe life back into these decaying structures, which will culminate in a photography/art book tentatively titled “Last to Leave”, and expected to be completed in 2017. (We would VERY much like a mention of the book if you can!) You can see several of our abandoned shoots with MacKenzie at MacKenzieMoltovComplete.
Letchworth Village was an institution in New York for the mentally and physically handicapped. It opened in 1911, and was the first totally self reliant village of it’s kind, with it’s own farmland, waste removal and power plant. Within 10 years, however, overcrowding led to deplorable conditions and horrific cases of neglect, torture and rape. The laboratory was used to conduct medical experiments on the children of the facility, including the first tests of the polio vaccine. The doctor in charge was said to have extracted brains and hearts of dead children and keep them in glass jars on display in the laboratory. Children were often seen wandering the grounds covered in feces, naked and malnourished.
You can view our blog on this trip at here. It is download protected and may be shared.
Helpful links on the history:
“Many times children were found roaming the buildings naked and covered in feces. Come meal time, those who could not feed themselves relied on the nurses. There are many cases where patients choked to death at the hands of the staff member forcing food down their throats….
When patients died at the facility, their brains were extracted from their skulls and kept on display in the laboratory. Their bodies were then reduced to a serial number and buried a mile from the facility, nameless.”
“Patients were forced to dwell in cramped dormitories, because the state would not complete the construction of more buildings. Barely ten years after being constructed, The institution’s buildings were already overpopulated, cramming 70 beds into the tiny dormitories. Nearly 1,200 patients were present during 1921. Over-population was one of the harshest conditions at the institution. By the 1950s, the institution was overflowing with 4,000 inhabitants. Quoting a spokesman for the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Corcoran confirmed that families abandoned their relatives there. Families of patients seemed to be just as neglectful as caregivers of the facility”