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Abandoned amusement park porn.  I’ll admit it, we’re totally obsessed.  We’ve done three now, each journey completely different, and with each one we learn something new, we get better.  Our first abandoned park shoot with a newly pregnant Rev MacKenzie Moltov was fairly terrifying.  We found an old roller coaster and a beautiful atrium where an old carousel once stood.  MacKenzie was flawless, even having the nerve to  hang naked from her hand loop, tiny baby bump exposed, on the old, rotting Cyclone.  But fear grabbed hold, and we didn’t explore the entire area as we should have.  Our second park shoot with our clown babe, was a beautiful mess.  A carousel, which had collapsed under the weight of winter’s brutal snow provided a perfect backdrop for MacKenzie, but the area was totally exposed to a major highway and we were surrounded by more “no trespassing signs” than anyone should really feel comfortable jumping over with a half naked clown babe.  We had to be quick with that shoot, and in our haste, we didn’t attempt to get into the buildings or to change MacKenzie’s costume, which was a mistake we were determined never to make again.

And now our third and best abandoned park shoot to date.  We took our time to find the best, most private entrance.  MacKenzie assembled some gorgeous costumes, including a fabulous wedding dress loaned to us by ultimate thrift store guru Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, manager and co-founder of  Philly Aids Thrift, which continues to be a treasure trove of costuming and prop finds.   With the help of  PAT  stylist Joey Mason, we found more wedding dresses than we had dreamed possible, and the perfect one for our fairy tale adventure.  This time we were determined to take our time, make costume changes and explore every building we possibly could get into.  And get into them, we did! Although the buildings had been vandalized, covered in graffiti, with broken windows and trash, each building held treasures from past decades of children’s scenes.  The buildings weren’t entered by visitors to the park, but families would press a button to see characters animated inside each one.

We used one building as a home base for costume changes.  Before we got to the wedding dress, we came dangerously close to getting caught by some men working at an adjacent facility.  Two  parks ago, we would have bolted.  Not this time.  We hadn’t gotten to our favorite look or to our clown tea party. We were determined.  We ducked from one building to another until we were out of sight.  We found a spot where they couldn’t see us, which was fortunately Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s giant orange house.  Perfect for our clown bride.  We stayed calm, clear and focused.  We got our wedding dress shots.  MacKenzie changed into several different outfits and had her own clown tea party, which Paul used to make a brilliant composite shot.

And this time…WE GOT VIDEO.  We want to take this further.  Go on the road, explore more of the US and hit some hauntingly beautiful decay around the world.  This is only the beginning of a fabulous new journey with our clown babe.  Stay tuned.  It’s quite possible that we’ll need help on our journey to shoot these beautiful remnants of childhood memories in a way that no one else has ever done before.  And we’ll need a strong team to join us in our adventure of making more beautiful art.

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The wonderful thing about being a photographer, is when an idea takes you down a road you hadn’t imagined possible.   It may start with a group of like minded artists or an idea, or a location or just one shoot.  A theme that make you want to explore more.  A shoot that becomes a series.  The series morphs and changes and becomes a different idea entirely.  And so begin our roadtrip adventures with Rev MacKenzie Moltov. It started with a road trip with a just barely pregnant MacKenzie to an abandoned amusement park in Pennsylvania.  It was a thrill.  I know that people have gotten into these delapidated, decaying  old parks before.  It is a little different when you’re sneaking in with a load of camera equipment and a half dressed statuesque beauty in full clown makeup lugging a bag full of sequined gowns and a lyra.  It was everything we love about location shoots.  A little danger, a little excitement and urban exploration with an unparalleled sideshow performer.  One Sword Swallowing Maternity and a Naked Philly Clown Mom shoot later, and it was time to get back on the road for another adventure.

For our second roadtrip with MacKenzie, we found a quirky little park a few hours outside of Philly.  We packed up our clown, who’s a delightful backseat companion. (Really, if you want an entertaining drive filled with stories and jokes and songs, bring your own clown. They’re perfect!) This park was a lot more open than our last. Surrounded by fences and no trespassing signs, high visibility from all angles. This was the type of little town that watches out for each other, and for the park who’s owners still hope to re-open despite it’s current state of total disrepair.

We parked a bit away, and found a way in.  Quickly dashing from building to building we were able to shoot against various walls and creaky old buildings.  There was even a collapsed carousel from a brutal winter from which it didn’t survive.  MacKenzie is a dream to shoot.  Fearless and whimsical and sexy and dirty and awkward and funny and beautiful.  Between the three of us, we have an ideal urban exploration team. We are totally respectful of the places we find.  We don’t vandalize, remove, harm or in any way alter the objects or areas left behind.  We don’t advertise where we’ve been in hopes of keeping them as they are.   We breathe new life into them.  We create art in what others consider garbage.  We honor the spirit of love and fun and happiness that still exists in what remains.  And we brought some old peeling walls a clown to show her love.  We have another road trip planned.  But this time we may be bringing a friend.