power plant

clown babe in Philadelphia urban industrial decay

Over the past 5 years, we’ve been photographing sideshow performer and clown babe Mackenzie Moltov.  We’ve documented her through  pregnancy, and received some internet hatred for portraying her as a very bad mommy. We have grown as photographers as she has grown as a performer and the journey has been filled with adventures.  Our most ambitious project to date is our on-going series “Last to Leave” where we use abandoned locations to inspire the artwork.  We have been fortunate to explore abandoned mental institutions, amusement parks and swinger resorts.  One thing that was missing from our abandoned work with Mackenzie was some good industrial decay. Which leads us to one of our recent shoots with her.

While I don’t like to give out locations, this one will be very recognizable to locals in the Urbex Community.  In fact, it’s become so popular with explorers, it’s losing a bit of it’s mystic.  There’s a feeling among some of the most experienced explorers that the more a location falls into ruin, the less exciting it is to explore.  I disagree. I love the changes that happen to an abandoned structure.  Some are reclaimed by nature, as we found at a resort in New York.  I also love the way good graffiti adds to the beauty of the space.  These spots do become incredibly dangerous, and I think this may have been one of our toughest shoots due to the treacherous conditions.

We often like to involve local stylists and businesses we believe in to bring an extra element to our collaborations. In past shoots Delicious Boutique, Batcakes Couture and Philly Aids Thrift have all donated their resources and talents to help us with our vision for the particular location.  For this urban industrial decay, I called on our friend Psydde Delish of Delicious Boutique to style 2 of the looks with pieces currently available from his amazing boutique on Girard Ave.  I love his gorgeous, hand crafted leather pieces and his leather jackets always have me swooning.  I love the way his accessories gave Lily Cheshire a rock and roll vibe for a winter bridal shoot a few years ago.

I can’t stress enough how dangerous this spot was.  It was covered in ice and frigidly cold.  Not long before we were there, they pulled a corpse from an elevator shaft.   It’s a miracle Mackenzie didn’t kill herself balancing on stilettos on garbage covered in black ice.  Magmods have been essential to our lighting in places like this. The diffusers are lightweight and portable and easy to change.  Most of these images were done with off camera flash stacked with a grid, a sphere and gelled. 

Our last two looks were all Mackenzie. A bright yellow dress was a fun splash of color to remind us that we are dealing with a clown, and candelabra accessories were a nod to the original use of the space, a power plant.  Mackenzie made the candelabra accessories herself, and they really were a cool final look to play with.  We had planned another location for the day, but were too exhausted to keep going.  So we got to do a part 2 a couple of weeks later. Please keep in touch to see the gorgeous continuation of this shoot.


I’m in mourning over the end of summer.  It’s been an insane season as our wedding photography business grows at a furious pace, and increasingly difficult to keep up with our creative, artistic shoots.  One of our primary goals is to constantly be creating art, no matter how busy we are.  So it’s only now that we’ve been able to finish the latest shoot in our ongoing  series of decaying amusement parks and abandonment in “The Last One to Leave” with model and clown babe Rev. Mackenzie Moltov.

There is a sweet spot when shooting the remnants of a word gone by.  A moment in time when there is a still an abundance of light, and when the days are still warm enough that you’re not risking pneumonia to shoot.  The best spots may boast stunning graffiti, but before people who have no respect for the space destroy and loot it into complete destruction.   We are always careful not to damage or take from the areas we explore, but rather our goal is to breathe life and create something new and stunningly beautiful amongst the ruins of locations once filled with love and laughter.

In our last road trip of the summer with Mackenzie we set our sights on Penn Hills Resort.  Founded as a tavern in 1944, the resort grew in popularity in the 1960’s, as a honeymoon resort which catered to swingers.  With over 100 guest cabins, complete with heart shaped tubs, beds with mirrored ceilings, floor to ceiling carpeting, a wedding bell shaped swimming pool, and famous New Year’s Eve parties with the motto “No Balloon Left Unpopped”, the Poconos resort was completely abandoned in 2009 when it’s owner died.  It would have been an incredible time capsule had it not been so completely destroyed by idiots with no respect for the past.

We once again called upon stylist Joey Mason and with an armload of looks from Philly Aids Thrift, we worked quickly and silently, as Mackenzie embodied a lost and lonely soul in sad old rooms once dedicated to love and passion and happy couples.  As we worked our way through the old moldy, garbage filled pools, an office with boxes of paperwork, carefully climbed rotting wood stairways to abandoned cabins and picked our way through a tikki bar littered with shattered glass, we all felt an unease, as if we weren’t alone and dangerously vulnerable.  Since then, the old resort has been boarded up, and remains under intense scrutiny and patrol, as possibly having been a hiding place for fugitive and suspected cop killer Eric Frein.  We may be last to have gotten in, and to have created something incredibly beautiful in those ruins.

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