Where Sin and Sorrow are all done away…

Sometimes, we all face a creative block, whether partial or complete.  I had one of those moments today while I pondered how I was going to work the brackets that resulted in the photograph you see here today.  At first, I thought I’d go for something dark, which would have me digging into the heavier parts of my music collection.  But, it being the Holiday season, something was pulling me away from the dark side.  Instead, I was looking for something hopeful again.  So, I started digging through my Blues collection to find something appropriate.  After several minutes of listening to some tracks, I came across a perfect  song from gospel blues singer Washington Phillips called What are they doing in Heaven today.  After listening to the song several time and focusing on the lyrics intensely, I got the inspiration I needed to channel today’s piece; I imagined that there were many people who’ve passed through this now abandoned asylum who are now, hopefully, in a much better place.  I’ve pasted the lyrics below the photo for those who might like to see them.  Enjoy.

What are they doing in Heaven today?

What are they doing in heaven today?
I don’t know boy
But it’s my biz to say it and sing about it

What are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
What are they doing there now?

I’m thinking of friends whom I used to know,
Who lived and suffered in this world below
But they’ve gone off to heaven, but I want to know
What are they doing there now?

Oh, what are they doing in heaven today,
Where sin and sorrow are all done away?
Peace abounds like a river, they say.
But what are they doing there now?

There’s some whose hearts were burdened with care
They paid for their moment to fighting and tears
But they clung to the cross with trembling and fear
But what are they doing there now?


And there’s some whose bodies were full of disease
Physicians and doctors couldn’t give them much ease
But they suffered ’til death brought a final release
But what are they doing there now?


There’s some who were poor and often despised
They looked up to heaven with tear-blinded eyes
While people were heedless and deaf to their cries
But what are they doing there now?

~ Washington Phillips

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show hide 7 comments

December 11, 2010 - 20:36

Rob Hanson Ah, nothing like the blues for inspiration. Great song, and a fantastic bit of processing work. I just love the look you get on images like this.

December 11, 2010 - 20:43

Jim Denham That green is amazing! Well, along with the rest of the image! Great stuff Jacques!

December 11, 2010 - 20:52

Jacques Thanks, guys! I think if it were not for HDR, I would have to lug a heck of a lot of lighting gear into these places to get the look I want. Thank goodness for the power of current software, not to mention my trusty 24mm tilt shift, which makes stitching panos like this together such an easy task!

December 12, 2010 - 04:45

John Sotiriou Very moving!

December 12, 2010 - 08:14

Jay Taylor (aka Sirfishalot) Awesome imagery Jacques! Beautiful song to accompany it; very nice post my man.

December 12, 2010 - 20:36

Chris Wray Haunting image and lyrics. Love the deep shadows and intensely green moss. Speaking of abandon asylums: check out the movie Session 9; a sleeper from 2001, staring David Caruso. Not your usual hack ‘n slash horror flick, but rather a slowly unfolding and deeply unsettling psychological journey. The movie is set in the abandon and notorious Danvers State Hospital, outside of Boston.

December 12, 2010 - 20:51

Jacques Thanks a ton for the kind comments, and also for the tip on ‘Session 9’. Had never heard of that movie, but I’ll look fr it now. Now I understand why there is an URBEX focused group of the sae name on flickr (think that’s where I saw it).

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