I am fascinated by old things. Not old things that look new, but old things that show their age and have “character”. I love wandering through junkyards and exploring old buildings and I always wonder about the back story. Who owned this? Who lived here? Why did they leave? For houses and things it is most likely a simple story, someone died, or moved, or lost it to the bank, but it amazes me that buildings like hospitals, asylums, schools, theaters, factories, prisons, hotels, and even cathedrals are left to rot.
The book States of Decay by Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix is a photographic exploration of just such abandoned places across the North Eastern United States. Hauntingly beautiful photographs document the gradual deterioration of these once, and sometimes grand, centers of community life. As I looked through the book I was mesmerized by the photos. In many of them equipment, supplies, or personal belongings were left in the buildings and serve as an eerie witness to the people who had lived, worked, played, or worshiped there. If you would like to see some of these photographs visit Mr. Barter’s website where a few are posted, the book is available from our library.
If you think you may be interested in learning more about decay photography take a look at Urban and Rural Decay Photography: How to Capture the Beauty in the Blight by J. Dennis Thomas. Mr. Thomas provides tips and techniques for taking stunning photographs of urban or rural decay. The book covers the history of decay photography, using digital or film, equipment, artistic considerations, as well as safety matters to be aware of when working with decaying structures.
Ok, now I am inspired. Time to go for a walk, or a drive, or a ramble and take some pictures.
– Laura Douglas is a Librarian at the Emily Fowler Central Library