Maybe it’s because I read a lot of history or as a child I thought that being an archeologist would be the most amazing job ever, but I like ruins. Lots of people like ruins so I know that doesn’t make me unique. The thing that I think may be weird is that I find a lot of comfort in the thought that everything around us will one day also be part of the archeological record and people will be using tiny paintbrushes to dust off our little iPods, tagging them with information on where they were found, and neatly organizing the detritus of our lives in museum stacks. I especially like thinking about this when I’m in suburbia. It all seems so fleeting to me – the big box stores, the massive parking lots, the strip malls. While standing in the middle of a 100 acre parking lot and surveying the huge buildings around you, it can be hard to think that one day this will all be rubble. But every huge civilization thought their way of life would last forever. I find it beautiful to think of nature encroaching on the pavement, grass sprouting up in the cracks, ivy and kudzu taking over the stucco and cinderblock, slowing breaking it down. Thoughts like this make me feel small and insignificant in a happy way. It puts into perspective the things that can cause stress, unease, malice. Thinking about the inevitability of decay is a bit like standing on a hill in the Highlands, or trying to take in the splendor of the Yosemite Valley from Lookout Point – the vastness of the view reduces my frenzied thoughts to a humbler pace, and I am reminded that I am but a very small piece of this wonderful picture – and that’s a feeling I want to hold on to and make a part of my everyday because it puts everything into focus. It makes me want to be kinder, gentler, more loving. Of course, the irony of this is that when I am standing in the middle of a parking lot facing down Target, my thoughts are anything but kind, gentle, and loving. I feel frenzied, stressed, and easily annoyed. And that probably explains why the thought of everything around me being returned to a pastoral Eden makes me happy. So, when I heard about Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s amazing series on the Ruins of Detroit I was intrigued. And then I clicked through their pictures and was charmed. They’ve captured the bridge era between vibrancy and ruin.

18th floor dentist cabinet, David Broderick Tower

18th floor dentist cabinet, David Broderick Tower

Bagley-Clifford Office of the National Bank of Detroit

Bagley-Clifford Office of the National Bank of Detroit

Ballroom, American Hotel

Ballroom, American Hotel

United Artists Theater

United Artists Theater

St Christopher House, ex-Public Library

St Christopher House, ex-Public Library

Fisher Body 21 Plant

Fisher Body 21 Plant

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
This entry was posted in architecture, Art, Back in the States, photography, Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ruins

  1. realoves says:

    I love this post, Becca. It reminds me of how we humans all have the longing for the prelapsarian state. The state of humans before the fall. We long to return to the garden; it seems as though even the earth groans to return to the garden state as well. These photos are stunning. Your musings on the topic were fantastic.

  2. Sloane says:

    Becca, I loved looking at the pictures, so sad but so beautiful in a way. I loved hearing your thoughts too, I think along the same lines a lot of times and I think it reminds me of what my perspective should be.

  3. Bethy J says:

    Loved this post Becca – reminds me of all the times my grandmother and nana would share what Detroit was…a place I cannot even imagine when I drive past what it is today. The photographs are powerful as is your shared perspective…The new site look and header look great!! As always – excellent!

    • Rebecca says:

      Hey Bethy – I thought a lot about you while I was looking through the pictures. I would love to hear some of your Nana’s stories. It’s so strange to think that within someone’s lifetime such a huge change can take place. Miss you!

  4. audrey says:

    Loved this post…I never cared much about ruins but now I do after reading your article.
    loved the pix from Detroit…something about them is beautiful…maybe just to look at but not experience?


  5. Abigail says:

    What amazing pictures! I wonder why all of that was just left to fall apart? There’s a story behind that….

    I gather that you are interested in Scotland! Have you checked out my blog yet?

    I’m working my way from the north of Great Britain to the south through pictures. You’ll see photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, delicious recipes and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Scotophiles everywhere!

  6. Pingback: Greening A City « Highland Happenings

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