Tech student photographing abandoned buildings gets citation

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 5/01 3:17 pm
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For Susan Marinello, abandoned buildings are works of art.

"We're so used to seeing pictures of beautiful landscapes, of beautiful events," Marinello said. "But there's a certain quality that these building have. Although you might see it as this ugly piece of concrete, I like to see and bring out the beauty in things."

We had permission to enter this building, but that is not always the case for Marinello.

"The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells is an old historic hotel built in the 20s, and it's been abandoned for the past 20 years. So it's just sitting there with a lot of the old remnants in the hotel. I saw an open door, and I walked right in," Marinello said.

She posted a selfie from her visit to the hotel on Twitter. Four weeks later, an anonymous tipster sent the photo to the Mineral Wells Police Department.

"I received a call from the detective saying I being issued a citation for trespassing," Marinello said. "About five days later, I received it in the mail."

Marinello paid the fine, $117.00, for a Class C Misdemeanor.

She likes the feeling of being alone in the buildings and capturing that feeling.

"There's just this unique quality of something that had been lived in and now gone. Like, everybody is gone. So it's almost like a post-Apocalyptic feel," Marinello said.

She said she finds old buildings hauntingly beautiful because it gives her just a small glimpse of what life was like many years before.

"Houses burn down and they just leave everything, because it's easier than picking it all up. It's almost like an eerie quality, like you said. A total eerie quality," Marinello said.

Her favorite pictures tell a story of what people leave behind. Like baby dolls, a bed or a lonely chair.

"And then any little details of like, who that person might have been," Marinello said. "A pair of keys, any documents... I found some checks."

She said she has learned something from her run in with the law, but does not have any plans to stop entering these abandoned buildings.

"I have a passion for this, so I don't think I'll ever stop," Marinello said. "But the way I do it will probably change. For example, permission." 

Marinello plans to compile all of her favorite photographs by the end of the year, and publish a book called "Beauty in the Forgotten." She said she will now moved on from abandoned hotels to empty medical buildings.

To visit Marinello's Facebook page, click here.
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