Ever since I can remember, I've felt an inexplicable attraction to all things dilapidated. When my family and I used to drive from Minneapolis to my grandmother's lake house in Michigan every summer, I would press my nose to the window and drink in the abandoned grain elevators and tipping silos that filed past outside. I anxiously awaited stepping onto the grungy dock where we boarded the overnight ferry that would shuttle us across Lake Michigan.
Obviously, decay is symptomatic of economic circumstances that are far from enchanting. However, something about structures marked by the passage of time and the corrosion of glory gives me chills.
A perfect example of such a building is the abandoned Machasa textile factory in southwestern Santiago Centro's San Eugenio neighborhood. Since drowning during Chile's plunge into the free market, this once emblematic establishment -- which I'm pretty sure employs a number of the characters of Antonio Skármeta's novel Soñé que la nieve ardía -- has been overtaken by weeds and rust.
Meaning, of course, that it's the perfect place to take photos. Last weekend, I circled the perimeter of the giant complex, searching for a gap in the fence or an open gate. After finding nothing, I approached a guard, connivingly conscious that gringas frequently can charm their way into exceptions to rules. He was just about to let me in when his stern-looking coworker emerged from the guard hut and dashed my hopes.
Oh, well. The exterior of the building is derelict enough to be more than photo-worthy. And as for shooting inside one day, let's just say the fence isn't that high.