Kevin Bauman: 100 Abandonded Detroit Houses
Landscape photography almost always focuses on the beautiful and majestic, whether it's capturing the contrasts in a metropolitan city or trying to fit-in two different ecosystems in one frame. Rarely is this genre of photography dedicated to the neglected and abused. Kevin Bauman turns his camera to captured the essence of this subject in Detroit, but ironically shows something beautiful in the decaying. This is his 100 Abandoned Houses.
Kevin Bauman is a commercial photographer specializing in architectural and interior photography. His photographs have appeared in several publications, including the New York Times and The Economist. While his commercial work is laudable, it's his personal project, 100 Abandoned Houses, that has garnered him online attention.
In this series, Bauman went around the forgotten parts of Detroit City and began documenting abandoned homes in all shapes and sizes. The series, which he began in the late 1990s, reflects the photographer's affinity to his native town.
From the 100 Abandoned Houses description: "The abandoned houses project began innocently enough roughly ten years ago. I actually began photographing abandonment in Detroit in the mid 90’s as a creative outlet, and as a way of satisfying my curiosity with the state of my home town. I had always found it to be amazing, depressing, and perplexing that a once great city could find itself in such great distress, all the while surrounded by such affluence.
The excitement about Detroit’s “rebirth” took center stage, while much of the rest of the city was becoming largely abandoned... Often times, the neighborhoods were almost completely abandoned. In these neighborhoods I encountered concerned citizens, packs of wild dogs, 20 foot high piles of toilets, and houses with the facades torn off, filled with garbage."
Like many great photo series, there's nothing particularly mind-blowing about Bauman's urban landscape photographs. They are exactly as he advertises them: 100 abandoned Detroit houses. Yet, it's that very simplicity that draws the viewer to look at each image.
The pictures speak for themselves, and while Bauman might have wanted the viewer to focus on the gentrification of the different urban neighborhoods, there's a quiet beauty that permeates in each image. The interesting intersection of abandoned civilization, encroaching nature, residential topology, and dignified photography all make this series worth viewing for many years to come.
This is Kevin Bauman's website. His pictures of 100 Abandoned Houses of Detroit can be found here.