Kevin Bauman- 100 Abandoned Houses

DetroitHouses

Motor City. If you’ve never been to Detroit, your assumptions about it– industry centered around the automobile, mostly working class neighborhoods, and rough around the edges– are truer than ever before. Built on the rise and popularity of the automobile along with a boom during industrialization, Detroit put every single last one of its eggs into a completely unsustainable basket. With the continuing decline of the economy, the housing market crisis, and the ultimate collapse of prominent American car manufacturers based there, the city is bordering a fine line on the verge of collapse. If it hasn’t hit that mark already.

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It also happens to be a behemoth of a city, roughly the area of San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan combined. Yet it is grossly underpopulated for it’s relative size. Many are moving out of Detroit due to rising unemployment, increased frequency of foreclosures, and higher costs of living, thus leaving businesses, residents, and sometimes even entire neighborhoods abandoned. The divide between the rich still there, and the poor barely hanging on, continues to grow larger.

A foggy morning in Detroit

“That a once great city could find itself in such great distress, all the while surrounded by such affluence,” fascinated Kevin Bauman, a photographer who considers Detroit his hometown. He has photographed the city for many years, recently turning his camera specifically onto the many abandoned homes on the rise. While the title of this body of work is called “100 Abandoned Houses”, in his artist statement, he confirms it’s somewhere closer to a staggering 12,000.

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The photographs are immediately striking first and foremost in their simple composition– geometric lines, a center focused frame, and often symmetrical elements. Bauman remains roughly the same distance from each location he photographs, creating a catalog when viewed in a grid, or focusing your eye on both differences and similarities when viewed one following another sequentially. The images are void of humans, although a car does peak into the frame sometimes– clear metaphors for both the unsustainability of recent years mortgages and resulting foreclosures, as well as Americans’s fascination with cars (in both unnecessary multiples and highly inefficient large sizes), along with the previous American administration’s consistent denial of any problems and refusal to address issues before the onslaught of inevitable crises, most of which we’re currently in.

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This is not simply another body of work on decay as beauty, or the aesthetic appeal of deterioration we often find in countless photographs of abandoned buildings. Instead, we find the sum of our collective actions; the outcome of our political, socioeconomic, and environmental choices; and the fatal flaws in a government that answers to corporations over its own citizens.

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I urge you to view more of these images on the site dedicated to them, aptly titled 100 Abandoned Houses. To view more of Bauman’s other work please visit his website www.kevinbauman.com. Bauman has released an extremely well priced limited edition set of prints with partial proceeds going to various organizations doing work on rebuilding Detroit. For more details on pricing and to purchase a print, click here.

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2 Responses to “Kevin Bauman- 100 Abandoned Houses”

  1. dolphinblueinc Says:

    Fascinating.

  2. carole bourgeois Says:

    Fantastic pictures

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