Brain Pickings

Urban Atrophy: Haunting Photos of Architectural Ghosts

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What Classic Coke has to do with abandoned dolls and the afterlife of buildings.

The Japanese find beauty in decay, accepting the natural cycle of growth and collapse. This philosophy might be foreign to our Western clinging to the corporeal, but since 2005, Dan Haga and Dan Ayers have been looking for beauty and poeticism in abandoned schools, psychiatric hospitals, missile silos, amusement parks, cathedrals, jails, churches, and other remnants of modern civilization.

This year, they immortalized their finds in Urban Atrophy — a spellbinding collection of 560 striking, haunting images, alongside text that contextualizes these architectural ghosts and exposes the afterlife of ordinary buildings.

Pennhurst Hospital

Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School

Pennhurst Hospital

The Queen Theater

United Cross

Fort Washington

Hebrew Orphan Asylum

The Queen Theater

Mayfair Theatre

via Web Urbanist; images from Urban Atrophy

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