PHOTOGRAPHERS DISCOVER THE HIDDEN ART OF ABANDONED URBAN DECAY

Tramping around in an empty abandoned building may not make sense to the average person. As a matter of fact it really seems downright crazy. What on earth could be interesting about fallen plaster and collapsing floors?   If you think it might seem a bit ludicrous or even dangerous to enter these long forgotten locations you are right. However what a new generation of explorers has found here is nothing short of magical and it’s getting ready to explode onto the main stream art and television market.

484053_490745817640821_1292801201_nAcross the country and around the world talented shutterbugs have unlocked the secrets of a treasure trove of imagery. Rotten, moldy, and overgrown seems to have a certain appeal to many. These high definition images now grace the walls of many offices and homes and don’t come cheap. Galleries are scrambling to meet the needs of this new generation of creators drawing massive waves of attention online and customers are lining up to be the first to have one of these exclusive prints hanging on their walls.

Some are in love with the history that this art represents; others are into the visuals created when Mother Nature begins to take back what was once hers. No matter what your point of view is this new industry is landing hard and spreading like wildfire across the world. The interesting part is that this has come from a place no one would have ever expected. From abandoned houses, shuttered insane asylums, and a vast array of locations these new age artists have developed a market and created a brand new genre of art.

Museums and galleries have always been portrayed as places where dusty old pieces of art hang in silence out of touch and out of style. History has shown that although the classics are of importance to our past the public longs for something relative to their generation. Flowers, sponge paints and sleepy black and white photography that is supposed project a mood upon us just does not cut it for a younger generation or even the baby boomers for that fact. I love Rembrandt, but would never want one hanging in my modern décor living room full of game gear and flat screen televisions. The strange fact that we might want buy a framed piece that was never intended to be art in the first place is one of the biggest reasons this new style is becoming widely popular.

Photographer John Mooney of Boston is part of a group formed by Emmy Award winning Crush media to work on a project for television show based on this very subject. In the process his prints have garnered the attention of many and now a New England gallery showing is now in the works. His images evoke mystery, and awe, showing how places that are so dead can also be so very alive.  Along with several other very talented image makers John has been traveling the country in search on the latest beauty of decay to share with the world. We recently talked with John after he returned from photographing the decimated city of Pripyat inside the hot zone of Chernobyl in the Russian Ukraine.
999012_526542164061186_415539377_n“It was wide Variety of a wash of emotions. I guess I didn’t know how much it would affect me.  We made it into Central Square and from there we headed to the amusement park and on to the Olympic pool and the basketball courts.  Then we visited school #3 and also a day care. One word I can say is fallout. The horrors that these people went though is still present to this day.The images speak volumes for what happened there. I really didn’t realize how it would affect me as a new father. Spending my first father’s day there was a sobering experience. When we went into what was left of the daycare I found hand written letters from parents asking acceptance for children into the now destroyed child haven.As a new dad I have written these same letters for my own son. Imagining that happening to my family was heart breaking. It was a life changing experiences to see how people can be affected by the actions of others. It has certainly changed my point of view on life over all. I see the world differently now. I plan on doing some gallery shows of the images and sharing the stories of my trip. I think these are images that everyone should see.” – John Mooney

I don’t think there was better place in the world to do what I do. I think there is more of the world that should be documented in this manner and I will certainly continue this quest to share the history of these forgotten places through digital imagery.

1044049_525970344118368_1091371343_nJohn is one of many who are also on this same quest in recent years. The art of urban photography is gaining huge popularity thank to the internet. Hundreds of talented photographers with ten of thousands of fans post amazing pictures every week. As this digital imagery archive grows so does the level of skill in presenting these awesome images to the public. Some have found specific niches like underground tunnels or forgotten toys. Others choose to stick to shuttered asylums and forgotten homes. There seems to be to be no end to the undiscovered locations that are yielding this amazing art. Now as this art of the abandoned, created out of the echoes of past lives comes into the mainstream, those who are not of the adventure mindset (called armchair explorers) are fanning and supporting these unique perspectives on a stellar level.

Not only have these moving images been captured on high definition still images a small crew has also done the same on digital film with astounding results. Cinematographer Christina Therese and her partner Rusty Tagliareni are working with legendary producer Sunny Lake to bring it all to life in a TV series as fall.  The new series is in final development the now and the networked group will be allowing the public an inside look at their work with exhibitions planned in key cities on the east coast.  No matter what happens as the genre grows this new generation of artists in right on track for a huge success in the art  and television world.

A-E / Crush Media Solutions.
Randy Coltuer
Images by permission John Mooney