Michael Connell
Michael Connell
Photographer - Austin, TX

Austin Power Plants

I had the fortunate opportunity to photograph the decommissioned Holly and Seaholm Power Plants in Austin, Texas. It was an interesting encounter that led to my being invited to photograph the interior of the closed Holly Power Plant initially. I was subsequently invited back on a couple of other open access photography visits along with several of my photographer colleagues. The Holly plant was particularly exciting to capture since it was mostly intact, left just as it was when it was decommissioned a few years prior. Apart from thick layers of dust, it almost had the appearance that everyone had just stepped out for lunch. It was an amazing place to explore and I feel as though I barely scratched the surface in the short few hours my friends and I were allowed to wander about. The Seaholm plant was virtually gutted already at the time of my visit. Rather than intriguing pieces of machinery and system controls, this visit was all about capturing the dark emptiness of the abandoned space.

The images in these collections were captured through HDR or light painting methods. Power was long switched off at these facilities so the only light inside came from what sunlight entered through sparse windows or my flashlight. The subterranean levels of Seaholm were particularly dark and light painting proved the best way to get some shots as quickly as possible in limited time. The Holly plant was slated for demolition. The Seaholm plant was destined for repurposing as a shopping center.

Holly Street Power Station

Austin Seaholm Power Plant