Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

Old Asylum Dairy Barn in Snow

Please welcome first-time contributor Karen, a 52-year-old woman who lives with bipolar disorder. Karen lost a sister, who also struggled with bipolar disorder, to suicide.

About this photo: “This old barn has always fascinated me, scared me too. My mother had schizo-affective disorder and back in the 1960’s, when I was 5 years old, my mother was admitted to a state asylum for the mentally ill in which this dairy barn is located. My dad brought me to visit my mother after months separated from her. I climbed the hill to this barn, where my mom was placed, and I remember being apprehensive. Though I wanted very much to hug my mom, as we approached closer to her, I could see she was in a wheelchair with an IV bag hanging from the pole attached to the chair. I was terrified and would barely go to my mom even though she wanted to hold me. I do remember someone telling her that I was probably frightened by the IV tube, and through her tears she agreed.  During my adult years I have always been relieved that someone did say this to my mom. I live about 5 miles from the state asylum, which is now closed. It stands on about 20 acres with many admin buildings and barracks that housed patients, and the grounds are beautiful. Though dilapidated, now that I’m an adult, I’m unafraid, and it brings me some strange comfort to be there (my mom has passed away).  This barn has always fascinated me and since I have always used photography as my “creative outlet” I photograph it often.”


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6 comments on “Old Asylum Dairy Barn in Snow

  1. Developing A New Image
    February 7, 2015

    Karen….welcome to BLC, you are off with an outstanding image. I am in TX and don’t get to see the white stuff too often………en theos..j


  2. laurent domergue
    February 7, 2015

    Courage y Hasta la Victoria Siempre …!!!


  3. karen
    February 7, 2015

    Thank you. This is a wonderful image, and I am grateful to hear your story. If you feel okay about saying, I would be interested in where the asylum was. I used to work at a hospital which closed, and later studied the lives of people who lived in another, in upstate New York. (I’ve also had my own depression.) best wishes


  4. treerabold
    February 7, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your story of your mom.


  5. heidispitzig
    February 7, 2015

    Fantastic image — the story behind it brings such great depth. Thank you.


  6. Diana Perkins
    February 8, 2015

    You truly captured a great photo of this old barn, and I can envision why it would both frightening, yet fascinating to you. Thank you for sharing your family history. though it is sad. I hope that you continue to find comfort in the creative outlet you have found.


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