Musings on art and life.
Dereliction- a state of willful neglect.
The word itself invokes a sense of sadness and loss. It would hardly seem as if anything beautiful or attractive could possibly come from something derelict, and yet, there is some poignant and moving photographic art being produced that deals with this exact subject, in a way that is sensitive and enchanting.
In a world that is pre-occupied with the new and the unused, dereliction, ironically, seems to be becoming more commonplace. Cities where once thriving industries have recently collapsed have seen a decline in population and a drop in property value. This, in turn, has lead to the abandonment of homes and various other buildings, as well as personal belongings. Artists, ever the observers and recorders of human history, have touched upon this theme in recent years as an inspiration for some thought provoking and poignant work.
In 1999 Camilo Jose Vergara published a book of photographs that documented the decline of numerous urban areas in America. The buildings depicted are not particularly old fashioned, or even outdated, but typical houses, shop fronts and industrial style buildings that are still being built today.
Since then, other artists have followed in a similar vein to Vergara. French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have worked together to document the decline that has taken hold of Detroit since the decentralisation of the car manufacturing plants in the area. The images are mostly of the insides of long abandoned buildings that they occasionally had to break into to photograph. Evidence of past inhabitants and the purposes of the building are often shown scattered on desks and floor space, giving the impression that the area was quickly evacuated in the midst of some natural disaster, such as a tornado.
David Creedon is an Irish photographer who has actively searched for abandoned houses to document for his book entitled Ghosts of the Faithful Departed. The work shows the dilapidated states of various houses that have been empty since the mass emigration of Irish nationals, probably since around the 1950’s. The peeling walls and dust covered floors tell the story of individuals and families who were forced o move on in the search of better lives.
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