From time to time we will be focusing on photographers we’ve come to know through friends, Facebook or even while wandering around photographing. Today, we’re showcasing the work of Jon Stevens. We met Jon through Facebook and have been consistently impressed by his ability to capture the sometimes magical, often eerie light that peaks through broken windows and collapsed roofs in abandoned places. By focusing on architectural details and left-behind artifacts, Jon’s pictures have a unique narrative quality. Through his lens you see more than what is – you see what was. His work is at once stylish and serene, emotional and evocative and he explores the coolest places. But enough from us. This is how Jon describes himself:
“My name is Jon. I use the name ‘Mental Essence’ for my photography because I primarily focus my work on Mental Institutions. I love to capture the essence of a place’s history as well as its current state of neglect. My motivation has two sides: first, to experience and record the sheer beauty of the architecture of the old hospitals, and second, to show as best I can the horrors that were inflicted upon early patients. When I’m inside a location, I try to imagine what the place was like when it first opened… the sights, the smells, the sounds, the pain, the cries, the hopelessness.
“One thing I love is that ten different people can look at one of my photos, and they will see ten different things. If you show people a picture of a waterfall, they see the beauty of a waterfall. If you show people photos of an abandoned institution, some will see the beauty in the architecture, some will see a scary place, some will see things they can relate to, and some will associate the image with nightmares. Photographs tell a story without words which is why I use photography to convey the real story of abandoned, forgotten locations.”
To see more of Jon’s work, visit his Mental Essence Facebook page. Photographs are available for purchase.