I find an unexpected beauty in abandoned structures— industrial, civic, or institutional buildings from the Victorian Era to pre World War II. Once grand, stately, and gothic, these forgotten places are now in some state of alluring decay.

For each of the sites I photograph, I am first drawn to the architecture, and then the history and the social constructs that shaped that history.

Factories, schools, theaters, hospitals, and even prisons and “asylums”, were built to last and included the work of skilled artisans who paid careful attention to ornate architectural details. Massive windows, columns, intricately carved corbels, graceful iron staircases…

Empty factory floors like those at the Scranton Lace building prompt in me a respect and nostalgia for the time when I grew up – when the American Dream era factories and mills were the centerpieces of their towns, places of pride, humming with productivity, labor, talking, machines, dust, noise, hardship, joys, and dreams. As we moved into our shining future, we left those days behind. The factory floors are now empty but the buildings are soulful and have stories to share with those who listen.  

When I’m in an abandoned building with a long history, I feel a stillness and a bit of awe in the presence of what once was. I am reminded of my mortality by these buildings, which too are transient. Like all living things, they have a circle of life: birth, development, decline, surrender to the forces of nature, and death. In the book “Ruin Lust”, author Brian Dillon asserts that for centuries, ruins have fascinated artists because they “… are bleak but alluring reminders of our vulnerable place in time and space.”

I also find my photography Zen as daylight fades. The beautiful details that emerge in the golden and blue light of dusk and twilight, the quiet and smoky black of the coming nightfall, and the patience that long exposure shots requires make this a meditative experience. 

The final category of my work is street photography, observing our daily lives through the lens. 

As a retired teacher, I am finally able to devote myself to photography and I am delighted to follow where this passion leads. Like this site, I am a work in progress and I am grateful to all who have helped me in my journey.

Please enjoy my photographs, and feel free contact me with comments or inquiries about purchasing my prints.

CONTACT diane danthony

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