Wednesday, February 3, 2010


This set of images is so absorbing, that I'm going to do something you should never do when you write a blog post, I'm going to send you somewhere else. That's right, I'm asking you to take a look at these images and then come back to TDN, and read the rest of this post.

It's a risk, I'll acknowledge that. You could get caught up in something else, and I wouldn't blame you. The web is full of shiny distractions demanding our attention. But I'm hoping you'll remember to return afterward, and if you need a mantra, I've included one below.

I must return to TDN, I must return to TDN (and repeat)


So welcome back. This post, the first of the new year 2010, is about abandonment. It's a difficult topic to approach, as it inspires so many different emotions and many of them are unsettling. Abandonment is personal.

I should point out at this early point that I was never abandoned as a child. I don't have issues of attachment. I did have a long romance with the idea of being adopted, and abandoning my OWN family while caught up in the swell of teen angst many years ago. This post however is not about that, or any thinly veiled or perhaps unresolved feelings from my past. No, this story is about houses.

Well, let's rephrase that, it's about these houses, the ones in the photos.

Kevin Baumen, he's the guy who took the pictures, states on his site that 'the actual number of abandoned houses in Detroit is more like 1200'. The homes encompass an area of approximately 138 square miles. The scale is astonishing.

The thing that struck me about the images on Kevin's site, was firstly what criteria he'd used to select the pictures for his one hundred shots. Perhaps the depth of character they inspired? Certainly the sense of abandonment captured in each shot.

I found myself looking in the windows to see more, examining the periphery of each shot, trying to discern whether the next house was also abandoned, and if not, who might be living there.

Good photo's of course, capture more than simply what's there. They suggest a mood, and inspire us to invest something of ourselves in them. There's more to see than what's been captured in these pictures. More than the long grass on the lawn and smashed windows, boarded up doorways and broken front steps. These aren't the things that disturb and unsettle us.

What's most disturbing is what's missing. The families and couples, single people and grandparents, dogs and guinea pigs. These homes were places where birthdays were celebrated and domestic disputes spilled over. They were home to singing, and shouting, the smells of cooking and a sense of security.

It's the absence of these things that bothers us most ... perhaps. Abandonment as I said earlier, is personal.

What did they inspire in you? What story do you think they are telling?