There's a peculiarly haunting beauty to ruined buildings. I know it sounds cliche, but I think it's because these abandoned places display the triumph of nature's entropy over humanity's brief victories of imposed order. Harsh geometric forms are softened by decay, broken by new plant life, tempered by sunlight and shadow.
[The image's link brings you to the author's site.]
Will Ellis's Abandoned NYC would make for a wonderful coffee table book. It's a gorgeous collection of so-called "ruin porn" from some of the most famous abandoned buildings of the city, from Brother Island to P.S. 186. His photographs display a new side to the city, a gorgeous and unexpected glimpse of the environment's slow encroachment over the city, and the accompanying text describes the murky history of the buildings themselves.
I think my favourite section was one of the first: the broken skeletons of old infamous hospitals and asylums. Especially in that case, where the building itself came to personify one of the evils born of civilization, there's a beautiful sense of justice in the pictures of nature encroaching and dissolving the noxious structures. Others such as the Harlem Renaissance Ballroom are sadder in their neglect and decay, if no less beautiful.
If you also have a fascination with the art of ruins and you're looking for a gorgeous coffee table book, definitely take a peek at Abandoned NYC. Even if you're not, check out the site, abandonednyc.com. [Publisher's book page]
I received this ebook through NetGalley from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., in exchange for my honest review.