After reading about writer Ransom Riggs's blog Strange Geographies, with its fascinating photos of forgotten places, I googled "detroit photo abandoned" to find again a photo essay I'd seen awhile back of shots of abandoned buildings in Detroit.
Turns out a couple of French photographers, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, shot the photos, which were picked up by Time Magazine, which called the subsequent photo essay Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline.
The photos really are remarkable:
They evoke strange, twisted feelings and longings and half-stirred stories inside me. You can almost feel the ghosts brushing past you.
I tried to write a short story in college called "Evocatively Moldering" after I took Art History and was taken with that phrase, uttered by my professor, to describe how the Romantic painters of the 19th century liked their buildings. They liked ruins clutched in vines, rotting, empty, suggesting a semi-forgotten past now merging with encroaching nature.
Looks like our own cities are now becoming something the Romantics would like to look at. Not to live in, of course. They had cozy homes stuffed with trinkets for that.
What is it about the sight of decay that inspires stories? Do you want to tell us how that empire declined? Is it nostalgia? Or perhaps it's knowing that one day we too will be gone, and probably forgotten, just as the people who once dwelled in these ruins are. By making up their stories, we can pretend we are also preserving ourselves for just a little bit longer.