Sunday, June 11, 2017

The World of Urban Decay 2, by Martin ten Bouwhuijs

Martin ten Douwhuijis loves to take pictures of decaying buildings.  Strangely enough, you may find yourself loving to look at pictures of decaying buildings in his book The World of Urban Decay 2.  (This is his second book of photographs, following the 2013 publication of The World of Urban Decay.)

He writes that the "emptiness and the natural decay" of places that have been abandoned for decades "make some places even more beautiful than when they were in use."  As his photographs clearly demonstrate, there is plenty of beauty in these abandoned places, but it takes an odd sense of taste to declare that they are more beautiful. . . .  Well, to each his own.

The sense I got from his photographs was more like sadness or longing.  Sadness, that places that held such beauty, beauty that is still evident despite peeling paint, water damage, collapsed floors, have been neglected, many of them past the point of recovery.  As anyone who has tried to remodel an old house or building knows, sometimes it's more efficient to tear down the old structure than to repair it and bring it up to modern living standards.  Also longing, recognizing that our age of cookie cutter homes and bland architecture was preceded by the times in which some of these places were built.

Ten Bouwhuijs's affection for his subject matter certainly shows in his photographs.  At the end, he gives more extensive notes about the places he features.  Some are slated for demolition, some may be renovated.  In order to photograph some of them, he crossed over barriers, through windows, or behind locked doors, such is his passion to see these neglected rooms.

He keeps the locations, scattered throughout Western Europe, mostly anonymous, fearing that other urban explorers with less appreciation and respect for the places will invade.  Through his eyes, we get to explore and get a glimpse into the past.  You will enjoy his hauntingly beautiful photographs.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

This article from The Sun has some nice examples from the book:

No comments:

Post a Comment