An online collection of 75 abandoned theater photos

posted by CSWalczak on April 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

NEW YORK, NY — The online publication BuzzFeed recently featured a collection of seventy-five pictures of abandoned theaters from across the U.S. Most, but not all, are movie theaters. (Unfortunately, you have to click the “Source” link below each photo to find out the name of the theater if you do not already recognize it, as the the pictures are labeled only by the name of the city in which the theater is located).

The images are often haunting, and the collection is an example of an emerging (and somewhat controversial) genre of photography preoccupied with urban decay, dubbed by some “ruin porn.” The collection of photos can be viewed here: Buzzfeed and an article about this emergent genre of photography can be read here.

Comments (6)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

“Ruin porn!” Ha. That makes me laugh. Guess I’ve been involved in “ruin porn” for quite a number of years! I wonder what aspect makes it a controversial genre of photography – unless they are referring to the illegal (and often physically dangerous) breaking and entering that is sometimes committed in order to get interior photographs? I typically don’t ever cross that line, much as I’d often like to (although I did squeeze past a chained gate ages ago to snap some shots at the condemned Ederle Pool in Flushing Meadow Park).

This is a great collection of photos, CWalczak. Looks like a lot school or lodge auditoriums included, judging by the huge windows along the side walls in some of the photos. Of course, that takes nothing away from the tragic beauty of these ruins.

CSWalczak on April 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Apparently, if I am reading the article about “ruin porn” correctly, those that object to photographs of this type feel that the photos are in some sense exploitative, either focusing on the grotestque, ugly, or macabre or used to create an overwhelmingly negative impression of a situation that amounts to a gross distortion. This is no doubt a over-generalization on my part, and I am certainly no expert on photographic genres, but apparently those who take offense at photos of this type liken them to other photos that are used to degrade.

DonSolosan on April 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

The Wyandotte, MI, theater has not been abandoned; it was demolished years ago. Matt Stopera should have consulted Cinema Treasures!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Interesting, C. I I completely disagree with those who feel photos such as these are exploitative or distortions of reality. I think the author of the article you posted hits the nail squarely on the head with his criticism of that line of thinking. These photos document structures that might otherwise pass into oblivion. Even if the structures were to eventually be restored and re-opened to the public, the photos can serve to remind us of what we almost lost and that abandoned buildings such as these can still hold great promise. Additionally, the photographs themselves hold great emotional and aesthetic impact. They might be alternately sad, haunting, awe-inspiring, nostalgic, alarming, stunningly beautiful or any combination of these.

I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for the post!

TLSLOEWS on May 4, 2011 at 11:58 am

Very interesting,but sad photos,thanks for the post.

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