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.
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:
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.
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.