Things to do

Justin Driscoll gets lost to find the right photo

Local photographer, punk rocker (bass player in Scowl Brow) and master marketer Justin Driscoll does what it takes to get the shot he wants. Oftentimes this makes for some pretty memorable stories. Before the launch of his first solo exhibit, “Trespasses: A Collection of Photography by Justin Driscoll,” at Haylo Gallery in Plaza Midwood this Saturday, we get the scoop behind Justin’s favorite photos he’s taken. In his own words:

(1) Auschwitz-Birkenau Train Tracks – Oświęcim, Poland

In Nov. 2014 I did a nice little run of Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

I am a history nerd through and through, so I had to stop by Auschwitz-Birkenau. I had been to many camps all over Germany and Belgium, but this place was different.

First off, it’s like 80 percent intact and massive (two camps), ready to set up shop tomorrow. Secondly, this was the coldest place I have ever been in my life. I was in the Tatra mountains on this trip at -15 degrees and it still was not as cold as the whipping wind chill at Auschwitz.

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(2) Piano – Caldwell, NJ

I grew up in Jersey and I remember riding bicycles past this place as a kid in the early ’90s. Patients would wander off in their PJs and wind up in people’s backyards.

Built in 1896, “The bin” or Overbrook Asylum for the Insane, is on 325 acres and includes 19 buildings of truly creepy exploring. I went on Halloween (by myself).

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(3) Pool Shark – Guangzhou, China

In July 2015 I headed to China as a tour photographer for the US Wrestling Federation. When I was off the clock I would grab my camera bag and literally wander ’til I was lost. … I would eat the local food, drink their beer and play pool. … We couldn’t understand what each other were saying, but beer and pool are universal.

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(4) Abandoned Naval Hospital – North Charleston, SC

The US Naval Shipyard in Chuck Town started as a dry dock in 1901 and shut down sometime in 1996. It was a stronghold during WW2 and the Vietnam War.

The complex is massive, but this was the old hospital. The floor was littered with old patient records (pretty sure HIPPA wouldn’t be too happy with Uncle Sam).

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(5) Liban Quarry – Krakow, Poland

This limestone quarry was built in 1873 by a prominent Jewish businessman. Then from 1942-1944 it served as a forced Nazi labor camp for 800 Poles.

The real reason I wanted to go here was…well, this is where Steven Spielberg set up a fake replica of Płaszów concentration camp for 1993’s Schindler’s List.

Spielberg left behind a road paved with Jewish tombstones and all the barbed wire fences. It was a creepy blend of WW2 and Hollywood history. I had to backpack over a mile then scale down some rock faces. Not an easy find.

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Check out more of Justin’s work at his exhibit opening this Saturday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. at Haylo Gallery in Plaza Midwood. Follow him on Instagram @jdriscollphoto.

I’m sure there are more stories to tell.

Photos: Justin Driscoll

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