4x5" C41 Film
© Linka A Odom
The Christian Admiral documents an abandoned edifice built in 1905 on the New Jersey coast. The building has a long and dramatic history, initially built as a luxury hotel with over 300 rooms. In the first and second world wars it was used as a medical center for the US Navy. In 1962 it was purchased by a reverend and became a bible conference hotel until Cape May city officials closed it to the public in 1991.
I discovered the building while visiting Cape May in 1993 and I became completely enraptured by it. Over the next three years I made several trips, each visit led me to new ways of seeing and documenting space. It is obvious why I was so taken with the building. It was as if an alarm had sounded and everyone ran out leaving all belongings. My attraction was visual and physical. I distinctly remember the moment I stepped inside, I had a flashback to the flapper era, seeing a woman leaning against a piano smoking from a long cigarette holder. Each time I visited, I would speak openly to the energy’s within this building, and ask permission to document the space. For me the hotel is a representation of the changing facade of the American landscape, in particular the value of coastal land, and the deterioration of historic landmarks. The images also contain numerous Christian undertones, which allude to the growing religious movement and its hypocritical nature, as everything falls down around these Christian symbols.
The Christian Admiral was demolished in February 1996.