Down East was kind enough to send me a copy of their new book Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America with photographs by architectural photographer Brian Vanden Brink. The book is a documentation of some of the forgotten buildings that are strewn across America. Brian Vanden Brink’s architectural eye brings out the beauty in these forgotten places and singles them out as artifacts and specimens that must be preserved (at least on film) for future generations.
Looking at the 120 photos in this collection (50 in color and 70 in black and white) make me wonder about the history of some of these buildings and what circumstances must have played out to make the owners abandon these structures. Were these buildings left behind when somebody passed away? Or were they abandoned because of financial or environmental circumstances? The questions remain and Brian cannot answer them all, but he can capture them in such a way that makes you appreciate their beauty despite being called eyesores in their community.
As a plus, Brian includes several photos that he took for the Historic American Engineering Record of buildings and structures that the government (Federal and State) are actively working on to either demolish, rehabilitate, or add on to. In some cases, these government sites have all but been abandoned and left to rot and in a sense, they take on a life of their own as shown in Brian’s photos.
For somebody like me who is obsessed with abandoned structures and places, this book certainly filled me with a sense of wanderlust. I’d love to visit the towns that these abandoned buildings and structures are located and see them all for myself. I probably won’t make it to most of them in this book, but I’m thankful that Brian has included the general locations just in case I do intend to make some sort of trip in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series of photos from Down East and Brian Vanden Brink and I highly encourage you to get your own copy of this book too so you can enjoy parts of America in a new way. Even better is that Amazon.com sells Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America for just over $40, which is a good amount off of the suggested retail price of $65.
Check out some images of the book below.