There’s something so tragically beautiful about the destruction of the past. When old historic builds are torn down in the name of progress and their decaying ruins lay exposed to the elements. The unrecognizable form of what used to be a home brings tears to the surface and roots within the heart a deep sorrow.
I have always been captivated by abandoned buildings, there is something so incredible about watching the world reclaim what we built on its surface. But more than that I have always been heartbroken when they get torn down or collapse. Yes there is something magical about an abandoned building, yet, my greatest hope is to see them restored to life.
A little over a year ago on September 3rd 2018, I took the above photo. This abandoned building had been drawing my attention for some time and I finally decided to use it in an image. I came back the next day and captured the background photos and later composited myself into the photo.
I loved creating that image however it means even more to me now than it did back then. Because almost a year to the date, the house above looked like the house below. On September 13th 2019 I went back to the same location after the building had been demolished. It was such a hard thing to witness, the once grand home that had seen generations of life was gone in an instant all for the name of progress.
Ever since I began photography I have shot in or around four different abandoned buildings. Out of those four, three of them have been demolished. For someone who has started a photo series centered around abandoned buildings, this percentage is rather disheartening. Seeing these homes turn into piles of rubble is by far one of the hardest parts of caring about abandoned buildings.
My series “Fragments of Decay” is something that speaks directly to my heart because it comes from my love of abandoned buildings and the regret that comes when seeing them torn down. I want to be able to tell their stories and explore their past. Every home has seen so many things and had so many people within its walls. This particular home was built in 1839, that’s 181 years of history and now it has been reduced to nothing more than a pile of bricks and timber.
The past is fascinating because it teaches us and helps us to navigate the rough water of the future. Without the past we will have no vision for the future, nothing to prompt us and nothing to motivate us forward. Without the stories that lay behind us we will have no guidance for the stories that we will create ahead of us. Remembering the past and where we come from is vital for making it in the coming years. Destroying, forgetting, or ignoring all that we have been through is never the right thing to do.
My motivation for “Fragments of Decay” is my experience with the beauty of abandoned buildings, seeing the cracking walls and the sagging roofs. Witnessing the beauty of nature trying to take over and creeping in through windows and floorboards. But also my experience with the loss of such buildings, driving by them one day to see only a pile of rubble where once stood a home. From home to forgotten to rubble, this is often the sad story of houses of the past.
These finished images tell a story, a story of what might have been within these cracked and broken walls. One will never know exactly who lived in these old homes and one will never know the kind of people they were. Yet you can imagine and you can tell your version of these houses stories.
There is so much beauty to be found within and throughout them. They are pieces of the past in the present and I truly believe their story is worth telling and is worth sharing with the world. No matter how hard it is to view the photos when a building is torn down and no matter how much regret there is from not exploring it more, I believe it is vital to capture them. To preserve their presence on this plant before they are destroyed forever.
When they fall we must grieve the loss, do not turn away like the world does. Progress must always happen but not at the sake of the past. The past is our foundation to build up from, not to ignore and turn away from. Honor where we have come from by not destroying it. Shouldn’t these building be given a second chance at life in the present day? Shouldn’t they be preserved for the sake of those who used to cherish its walls?
“Fragments of Decay” is about honoring the homes of the past, the buildings that used to be solid and sturdy structures. It is about telling the stories that could have been and grieving when they are reduced to rubble. Buildings will come and go, as one can see, but photos will always remain. They will always preserve that which has been lost.
Dust settles and the walls come to rest in their final destination just as a fine drizzle slips from the clouds above. Sorrow seeps from the very foundation of that which now lays in ruin, nothing more than a pile of what used to be.
To see the images all together, be sure to check out the page I have dedicated to them by clicking the button below. More images will be coming soon.