“…the headquarters of CCTV, the Chinese television network, by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture—a building which I had thought was going to be a pretentious piece of structural exhibitionism—turned out to be a compelling and exciting piece of structural exhibitionism.”
Chris Jordan’s photographic essays seem to always be preoccupied with uncovering beauty in the spoils of our society. Discarded circuit boards take on a patchwork air, while a rack of waterlogged dresses hints at a rainbow in the otherwise twisted wake of a post-Katrina New Orleans. In his series Running the Numbers, he uses statistics as his subject, producing compelling large scale photographic collages that serve as visual representations of societal numbers that are often too collosally abstract to even try to comprehend.
As Jordan states: “I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.”
Currently showing at the Met and corresponding with a book of the same name, Robert Polidori’s New Orleans After the Flood: Photographs hauntingly documents the post-Katrina devastation of the once Big Easy. With the same passion that affected his photographic essay on Chernobyl in 2001, Polidori once again succeeds in capturing the magnitude of loss and human folly in each frame.
For more info check out John Updike’s review of After the Flood in the New York Times Review of Books.
There is something eerily resounding in the utter silence of abandoned buildings. No longer with purpose, emptied of their human charge, they stand as physical prophecies to the conquest of time and the inevitable reinstatement of nature.
Check out these spectacular images of Abandoned Japan (via the Skinny). And if you are left wanting more there is a very comprehensive listing of similar urban skeletons at Ruins and Urban Exploration.