Fetishizing Ruins

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“So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city.”

At Guernica, an insightful article about the ruin-craze, especially the Detroit ruin craze. A worthy read especially if you recently explored these photographs.

I admit to being one of those privileged white persons who has a fascination for ruined buildings. And ruins in general.

But I suspect this fascination — whether it’s for the ruins of Detroit, of Ancient Rome, or Machu Picchu — is fairly innate in most people. Decomposition is both comforting and appalling wouldn’t you say?


Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →