Photographing abandoned spaces has exploded in popularity in recent years. For photographer Karen Jerzyk, however, finding those spaces is only the first step. She transforms each one into what she describes as a “dark fairy tale” scene.
Jerzyk began shooting portraits in 2009 after spending years doing music and concert photography. Not having any funds to do studio work, Jerzyk decided to get creative and use eerie, abandoned locations as her sets.
“I had seen a photo of a theater in an abandoned asylum via an internet search, and was immediately enamored with the image. I was obsessed with finding the location, as it was like nothing I had ever seen before. I had no clue that places like that existed. That was the wonderful start of my marriage with “finding cool locations”. But, admittedly, something was missing. Visually, my photos were ok. Not TOO terrible, but I was never truly proud or satisfied with them. To me, it just seemed like something wasn’t clicking,” Karen told Bored Panda.
“In 2011, my father passed away unexpectedly. The whole experience was gut-wrenching. Heartbreaking. I was extremely close to him (I was an only child) and I struggled tremendously to cope with what had happened. For years, I struggled. I hit some scary, scary lows.”
“The bittersweet thing is, the death of my father was the birth of my photography career. Suddenly, my photos displayed emotion. They displayed stories and purpose and a sense of beautiful dismay, which was a direct mirror of how I felt on the inside. I poured all of my feelings and struggles into my work. I learned how to control how I felt and funnel it all into my ideas. I finally learned how to make the connection between imagery and emotion, and for once in my life I was satisfied and proud with what I was creating.”