The Recession Makes for Really Pretty Photography

08/28/2009 2:08 PM |

It’s an accepted truism now that few things look prettier than beautiful, crisp photographs of abandoned buildings slowly falling into disrepair, and if our current economic slump has been good at providing anything, it’s just such sights. Three stunning series in particular come to mind. Brian Ulrich’s Dark Stores series on abandoned big box shops and malls is especially moving for eloquently communicating a form of suburban blight that, until recently, was fairly difficult to capture in one photograph.

Brian Ulrichs Dark Stores series

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s series The Ruins of Detroit presents, obviously, a much more urban vision of poverty’s impact on the built environment. It’s especially beautiful because we’re not talking about Circuit City stores and mall parking lots: these are the ruins of some of the most beautiful buildings in one of the great American cities. Like, for instance, the ballroom at the Lee Plaza Hotel:

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffres Ruins of Detroit Series

Finally (and you may have heard of this one after a New York Times profile), Kevin Bauman has created a more sweeping, personal chronicle of Detroit’s ruin with his series 100 Abandoned Houses, which portrays some beautiful abandoned homes in what used to be the city’s richest suburbs.

Kevin Baumans 100 Abandoned Houses project

Bauman’s photographs, incidentally, are available for purchase ($35 per photo) as limited edition prints, with $10 from each sale going to a charity or non-profit.

2 Comment

  • Yeah, except these Detroit photos have nothing to do with the current recession (which is technically a depression locally). They are part of the long decline of the area. That hotel didn’t just close.

    Recession related photos would be closed car dealerships, foreclosed homes, for rent/sale signs in businesses, and idled or closed factories.

  • P.S. If you actually gave a shit about Detroit, you’d buy cars from US-based companies. We rise and fall based on how GM/Ford/Chrysler are doing. People believe the fallacy that their Japanese car assembled in the US is the same. The US companies design, engineer, test, build, finance, market, etc their cars through US offices, keep their money in US banks and invest heavily in the local community. Their economic impact is gigantic, here and throughout the country. Buying their cars should be as politically correct as recycling.

    Or you can just ponder the wonderful beauty of our decay.