The deterioration of the American inner city stands in stark contrast to the prosperity characteristic of the United States for much of the twentieth century. Skyscrapers that once defined the modern era stand derelict and abandoned. Massive industrial manufactories lie rusting, their cavernous interiors dark. Formerly vibrant theaters shed bricks and terra-cotta ornaments. These desolate fragments of America's cityscapes are the legacy of decades of proud investment in the urban realm followed by decades of devastating neglect.
Photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara has spent years documenting the decline of the built environment in New York City; Newark and Camden, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Chicago; Gary, Indiana; Detroit; and Los Angeles. His photographic sequences—images of the same sites taken over the course of many years—show once-sturdy structures as ghostly ruins and then as empty lots or flimsy new buildings. Grand civic edifices—the Michigan Central Railroad Station in Detroit, the Essex County Jail in New Jersey, the Camden Free Public Library—have become empty, roofless shells, dusted with snow in the winter and filled with stray plant and animal life in the summer. Monumental commercial and industrial buildings such as RCA Victor's "Nipper" Building in Camden and the Packard Automobile Plant in Detroit bear broken windows and rubble-strewn interiors. At once a scathing critique of national indifference to the plight of the inner city and a meditation on the aesthetic impact of desolate and neglected buildings,American Ruinsstands as a witness to a vanishing era of the American city.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Stevil2001 - LibraryThing
I was nattering on about my interest in abandoned human structures to my friend Jared, and he recommended I check out the work of the photographer Camilo José Vergara, specifically this book. I was a ... Read full review
Review: American RuinsUser Review - Bill - Goodreads
Ruin porn with redeeming social value. Vergara doesn't just exploit decayed and collapsing buildings for their sad beauty. He gets to know them, and sometimes their denizens and neighbors, complementing his lovely photos with engaging, and often depressing, stories. Read full review
INTRODUCTION Energies of the Outmoded
A New Reality a New World a New Faith
Firemens Insurance Headquarters at the Four Corners Newark
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