Inside Pennhurst


Here are my last images from Pennhurst … for a little while anyway. I wanted the images to tell a story of Pennhurst as an institution. Images I chose not to show are those I shot in areas that had a lot of graffiti. Those images seemed to be more about vandalism and less about the past of the place. Here I converted a few to black and white. The rich textures work well but in some I still prefer to show the unusual color palette. As stated in the previous post I worked to replicate the dark lighting. Having learned from my first shoot here I am looking forward to going back and trying some different angles and approaches.

Scroll down to see and read two more posts from Pennhurst State School & Hospital. To return home at any time click on Denise Bush’s Photo Blog at the top. And feel free to leave a comment in the areas below each post!

Adjacent Room

‘Adjacent Room’ © Denise Bush

Visiting Emily

‘Visiting Emily’ © Denise Bush

Forgotten Friend

‘Forgotten Friend’ © Denise Bush

Crib By A Window

‘Crib By A Window’ © Denise Bush

Chair & Radiator

‘Chair & Radiator’ © Denise Bush


‘Empty’ © Denise Bush

29 Responses to “Inside Pennhurst”

  1. Were those dolls just…there?? Again, a wonderful series of images.

  2. More good images – I do like the ones with the water in them as they really add to the decaying story and I’m partial to reflected elements in photos anyway.

  3. Once again, striking and very nice.

  4. Another wonderful set of images from a fascinating (and creepy) location, Denise. Can’t wait for the tour!

  5. You certainly captured the feeling of decay and abandonment in your images. I think I like the color images better because it looks like the place is currently abandoned, whereas the B&W could have been taken in the 1940’s. In any case they are all good.

  6. 11 Pam

    Denise – haunting, beautiful photos. They hold so many memories and feelings. I had a similar experience a couple years ago, visiting a former mental hospital in Athens, OH. I stumbled upon two cemetaries, high on a ridge, with row upon row of unmarked graves of former patients. Nature had found a way of marking the stones, (each unique and so beautiful) with patterns from algae, and I felt that the souls represented there were honored, at last…

  7. I really like ‘Crib by a WIndow’ I think that alone tells a story, it feels like I’m standing on the outside looking in at the dilapidation and wishing I could have seen it in better times. A great series, very interesting to learn about the facility as well.

    Leave a comment letting me know you are interested to receive the invite and further information.

  9. Great series!

  10. Hi, Denise–sorry to be late in getting back to you about the Penhurst tour. Long story—won’t bore you, but it turns I have a conflict on the date. But I remain interested if future runnings are scheduled and will be in touch.

  11. Amazing imagery; I would love to experience this property!

  12. Fantastic.

  13. 24 snaps22

    Very atmospheric. I can almost smell all that damp and decay!

  14. So, what is the larger story? Is one about lightness or the dark side of how this country addressed mental illness and many residents institutionalized, or is it about a particular person? Just curious. Finely crafted, but would love context.

  15. What a wonderful series of images. You really capture the atmosphere in your photos.

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