Castles and Graffiti


By now most of you have received the Autumn 2015 Texture issue of PLY Magazine. This is my favorite issue so far! It is full of unique and inspiring techniques and projects, but I’m here to tell you more about the fantastic location for the shoot and one of the photos in the issue.

The issue was shot in Kansas City’s historic Workhouse Castle. The castle was built in 1897, and was originally designed as a city jail where petty offenders could work off their debt. The women repaid their debts by sewing prison uniforms, and the men labored for the city’s public works department. The prisoners mined limestone onsite and with it constructed the castle walls. The castle also housed the city’s poor and homeless during the cold winter months. Two decades later the castle became a city office building, and in the 1970s it was closed and abandoned. Without maintenance it fell into disrepair, and was subjected to such damage and vandalism over time that it became filled with tons of rubble and trash and was dangerous to enter.

In 2014 an amazing couple chose to put their wedding fund back into the community. Many volunteers cleaned up the castle (62 tons of trash!) and the couple (Daniel & Ebony) used the space as their wedding venue. You can read more about the transformation and continuing efforts here. We knew nothing about the restoration project when we chose the castle as our location, so we were thrilled to see the improvements. Meeting Daniel and hearing the story made it even MORE awesome.

Jacey’s favorite photo in this issue is the image on the back cover. I wish I knew the graffiti artist so we could give credit. The photo was captured through a tiny hole in an interior castle wall, through which the graffiti was perfectly framed. You can see the little hole in the wall in the following photo.


I’m so glad my curiosity led me to drag my stepstool to the wall so I could peek through the hole. When we saw the final shot, we knew it was a perfect fit for the texture issue. We have had a few requests for prints of the photo; we’re working on that and we’ll let you know when they’re available.


2 replies
  1. Karrie
    Karrie says:

    I love the graffiti photos. The story behind the castle itself was very powerful. Thank you not only for an amazing magazine but by providing the background story on the building itself you have introduced us to a wonderful couple and an amazing community pulling together.

    • Bernadette
      Bernadette says:

      Thank you Karrie! The backstory on the castle made shooting photos there even more inspiring. Hopefully we will shoot another issue there in a couple of years!



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