Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

America (Literally) in Ruins

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara takes as his subject abandoned, neglected, unloved buildings across America. His photographs appeal to the futility of industriousness; in a series of images detailing a Packard manufacturing plant in Detroit, for example, the sheer time span of his photographs (taken over a dozen years) reveals how nature can be relentless–even ravenous.

As Vergara notes in his introduction:

Abandoned and derelict buildings quickly become hosts to vegetation on their roofs and in their walls. The rain and wind accelerate their descent into ruin. Often, unscrupulous contractors and businesspeople use ruins as dumps for discarded old tires and broken appliances. Ruins are potential homes for the homeless and offices for drug dealers.

These are abandoned structures in New York, New Jersey, and Detroit. The buildings range from residential houses and office buildings to a depressing (though beautiful) church overgrown with moss. In his quiet, artful way, Camilo Jose Vergara captures the inevitable futility of man against nature.

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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