An Arrested State Of Decay

One of my favorite photographic subjects is the urban landscape. I seek out subjects that were once grand but are now disguised by neglect and decay.  One aspect of my work includes buildings that at some point in their history were well cared for, but for whatever reason have fallen into disrepair.  There is a certain irony that although slowly being returned to their raw materials the wrinkled facade of age oozes a beauty that its creator could never have imagined.  Shuttered windows and boarded up doors conceal long forgotten stories awaiting the arrival of adventurers to unlock their secrets.

My work has been influenced by many great photographers, including George Tice and David Plowden.  I mention these two in particular because their work is based on their own particular memories and experiences.  In the case of Tice he photographed Paterson, New Jersey, which had been home to several generations of his family and where he grew up as a child.   Plowden’s A Handful of Dust work depicts what he saw when he returned to places that he first visited many decades before.  In both cases one needs to look beyond the printed image and indulge for a while in the magnificence of simplicity that once was.  Allowing your mind to wander, one can begin to hear the voices of people in the now silent settings.  Listen to the stories they have to tell of tragic and triumphant events that shaped their lives, homes and the surrounding landscape.

Whenever I take photographs of the urban landscape I try to include a sense of story, of something that once was but is now forgotten unless one cares to look beneath the surface.  A couple of years ago I took a drive to Hoopers Island on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  It is an old community that grew up around the fishing, oyster, crabbing and farming industries that have been in decline for several years.  People began to move off the island many years ago and in most cases simply left behind their homes.  The buildings slowly succumb to gravity and the forces of nature.  I took these images of a couple of old houses that I found during my trip.

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