Maybe old buildings are in my blood. For forty years, my dad worked as a draftsman and designer for structural engineering firms, drawing up plans by hand. On trips into Cleveland for the art museum or bagels, Dad would point out the buildings he’d had a hand in. His job: ensuring they would stay standing.
So, it feels like a personal affront to watch buildings–especially beautiful historic places–go to ruin, abandoned.
I’ve talked on the blog before about “Ruin Porn,” a type of photography that glorifies falling-down structures, often in post-industrial places, like my native Cleveland. I’ve said before, that to me Ruin Porn looks like the American Dream on its knees with no dreamer in the scene. (I wrote a three-part essay you can read here, here, and here.) So, what do we do? How to salvage falling-down places?
We do what we writers always do. We tell their stories. And this is where Johnny Joo at Architectural Afterlife, sets himself, and his art, apart.
Preserving history through imagery, Cleveland, Ohio-based photojournalist Johnny Joo documents the history of decaying, forgotten places across the US.
I’m very pleased to re-blog my fellow Northeast Ohio native’s post. (If you’re on WordPress, you may have noticed this piece was a recent Discover feature–congrats, Johhny!) I hope you’ll click through to discover the many forgotten, falling-down places Johnny raises up (if only figuratively) by telling their stories.
The photo-story of a Slovak Roman Catholic Church, “This Cleveland Church has Sat Abandoned for 27 Years,” by Johnny Joo at Architectural Afterlife.
From Alabama to West Virginia, from an abandoned asylum to an old bowling alley and from falling-down churches to mansions and more–Johnny’s work captures “a specialized cycle of abandonment, destruction, and nature’s reclamation of countless structures.” Find Johnny Joo at Architectural Afterlife and all over social media from here.
Photography is one of my favorite sources of inspiration for writing. How about you? Maybe you’re a photographer, yourself? Click-and-shooter or pro, if you’re capturing images of Rust Belt places, I’d love to see them, and maybe feature them right here on the blog. Let me know in the comments! ~ Rebecca