Melancholy Beauty: lacrimae rerum

Why is modern industrial, urban, or residential decay so compelling? What’s at the heart of the appeal of what some people call “ruin porn?”

While you can point to the beauty of the muted tones of weathered paint, the fascinating patterns revealed by flaking paint and rust, or the visual contrast created by organic life overtaking the man-made, it is disingenuous to claim that the thrill is purely aesthetic. Yes, the quality of light in these spaces can be magnificent, but let’s not forget that we are, metaphorically speaking, whistling in the graveyard.

These places help us visualize an apocalyptic end-of-days. This is how we see the world after a nuclear holocaust, complete energy collapse, or some horrendous biological plague. These images are how we imagine not our own, singular mortality, but what it would look for our society or our species to die. These photographs and videos are squarely in the traditional vein of the Vanitas or memento mori.

A Year Ago: An Old Love

Great Falls, VABack in the day, all I ever shot was black and white. I developed it myself. I printed it myself. In a darkroom.…
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This site gains an extra layer of poignancy since it was an amusement park: fun, frivolity, laughter, youth, escapism, all the exact antithesis of its current state.

2 Responses to Melancholy Beauty: lacrimae rerum
  1. [...] beauty is beauty nonetheless. Sometimes I think I should start a blog called Lacrimae Rerum. 0 Comments « Previous [...]

  2. [...] berries there) than mine. It has the texture and abstraction that I love, as well as a hint of the memento mori that always speaks to [...]