Sunday, 17 January 2016

Finding beauty in decay

There’s something fascinating about decay.   Something about nature taking over, something that reminds us that there’s something more powerful than the perceived control we have over our everyday lives.

Talking about the pleasures of specifics..... “ the wonderful peculiarity that accrues from dilapidation; what we build gets differentiated as it comes apart - boards loosen to crazy angles, windowpanes fall out, and rain and snow streak white clapboards”  “People too become marked and thus individualized as they age”.
Robert Adams in Why we photograph. p79

The photos of derelict London mansions in this Guardian article highlight this fine balance between order and chaos,  'Inside London's derelict mansions' article

I’m not alone in my love of the derelict… “Strand, like Cartier Breton was attracted to the picturesque desolations and damages of urban life” Susan Sontag, On Photography  p101

One of my most inspirational trips was to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, USA.  The most wonderful thing is that the site hasn't been tidied up, cleaned, renovated....  which led to some fantastic photographs. There's a sense of authenticity with a site like this; its uncompromised, and this leads visitors to a deeper connection with the building.

All of this got me to thinking about the preservation of buildings.  I came across an article written by Rowan Moore, about the difficulties of choosing which buildings to assign heritage status to.  The article really highlights the challenge; how do we decide which buildings are culturally and historically significant?

You can read Moore’s article here:  Architectural heritage article

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Rebecca Gouldson