As I edit and group my images by subject, I find themes are present in my work, which become visible through their repetition. In my current work, my subject is more often than not, architecture either industrial or urban. My interest is in visually archiving these structures, who at one time were vibrant and with purpose.
I call this particular category “Empty Facades”. The first image, shot in Coxsackie, NY had the feeling of time passing this block of storefronts by. The town was once thriving, the site of a ferry crossing over the Hudson River. Bridges were built up and down the river, and there was no longer need for ferry service. The lines in the building are still proud, even as the windows are boarded up, seemingly devoid of people.
Other such facades began to appeal to me, urban scenes, in mill villages like Berkeley and Valley Falls, RI. The spaces were empty, boarded up retail spaces. Instead of looking in, I felt a presence in looking out at me, architectural souls that given a voice, could tell stories of the good ol' days of thriving commerce and human activity.
At first, I was drawn to the elements of different sized rectangles, mostly on a single plane; these portals in space like empty souls. The empty facades suggest the presence of people; what were the ghosts that stared back from these spaces, the activities, and the purpose? Why were they left to neglect and obscurity? As I look deeper into the windows, there are still signs of humanity; the draped American flags and curtains hung as a means of privacy. Even as the glass reflects as a barrier, broken panes and fogged interior elements add to the sense of mystery.
The brick facade below in Stockton, MD goes one step further, in that this is an actual ghost town, once a thriving commercial center, when the shellfishing industry was at its height. Now the shellfish are gone, as are the people.
Many such areas exist on backroads and in our backyards. They stand as witnesses and testaments to what once was, now vestiges of simpler times.
Look for new discoveries on my website cindywilsonphoto.com, under the Cindy Theme 'Empty Facades'.