I love photographs of old, broken stuff and places. I’m not sure if it’s the photographer in me or just a pining for the past I never knew, but modern photographs of old or broken things are some of my favorite visuals to study. They make for great story fodder and reference material, too.
I find photos of failed construction projects to be similarly fascinating. This, for example, is a composite shot of a failed building project near my home. This is one of two giant apartment/business combo buildings that was started during the housing boom. It was never something our community even needed in the first place, but the housing bubble broke and the construction company simply ran out of money. (They were counting on preselling $1,000,000 condos to finance the construction… in our community where $200,000 will buy a good sized family home and the average salary is $45,000/year or so. Yeah, they didn’t really understand math.) It’s a blight on our main thoroughfare, a testament to bad economics and stupendous lack of foresight. And yet it remains. Unfinished, untended, unnecessary.
I wrote about this before in my Falling Apart article. I highly recommend going and checking that out, as it carries the bulk of the philosophical rumination I might offer in this vein, and better, some really cool photos and links.
In the meantime, I’ve been collecting links to other fascinating collections of photographs in the same vein; busted buildings, urban decay and varied displays of the ravages of time. Some of it may be politically or socially charged, at least in the implications, some of it might simply be due to the inexorable march of time. Some of it, like the Chinese ghost cities, the ruins of Prypiat or the Winchester Mystery House, is ripe for storytelling, whether digging into the actual stories or riffing on reality for fictional fun.
Much of it is somber, sad and even tragic. Sometimes it’s creepy, and the realities can be appalling. Still, it’s fascinating, and it invokes musings on mortality and the meaning of life and why we do what we do. Is it more important to have lived well or to have left something behind? What is the most important mark of our passage in this mortal coil? …is it important at all? What if death were unhinged, what then? What can those who have gone before teach us today? Do we care, or do we keep making the same dumb mistakes, only to see our work on the scrap heap of history?
China’s Abandoned Wonderland
Chinese Ghost Cities
New South China Abandoned Mall
Abandoned Asian Architectural Wonders
Prypiat and Chernobyl
Winchester Mystery House
Surreal places in the Real World
Decay Photography Challenges
Dark Stores (abandoned stores and malls)
Randall Park Mall (huge, empty mall)
And just for fun…
Decaying Victorian Buildings… in LEGO.