Out of time
Who would have thought that decay would look so fascinating? I've now bought several books on contemporary ruins and O'Boyle's book is an excellent addition to my collection. The book is divided into two ruin formats: the institutional and industrial. I thought the former interesting (and the part with color photos) with its long state hospital corridors, confined space prisons and everywhere peeling paint but it's in the industrial pages where I think O'Boyle's superb photos really come alive.
The chapter on steel has some quite stunning images of Bethlehem Steel Company blast furnaces inside and out. These structures must be a photographers paradise (even when brand new, too) with their irregular shapes, shadows and sheer size. The section on coal is perhaps more subdued, here the photos reflect the effects of coal on the community so there images of houses, a drive-in theatre as well as the inner workings of a defunct mine. The last section is a sort of hybrid of the institutional and the industrial: the Bannerman Island Arsenal on Pollepel Island near Cold Springs, New York. There are only seven photos of what could easily be mistaken for a ruined castle on the Hudson River (check out some color photos of the place on Google Earth).
The landscape book is nicely designed and printed with a 200 screen on a matt art paper. The last four pages have a short interview with the photographer and his thoughts on the ruins, how he finds and explorers them.
Each of the four photo sections has a short essay.
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