Strange Beauty

Uploaded 30 Mar 2010 — 5 favorites
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© Joshua Ball
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More of Joshua Ball’s Photos

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Photo license: © All rights reserved

Last weekend, my brother Jeff ( and I spent a second day together wandering around Detroit capturing images of the decaying city. Our last stop was this industrial complex that stretched several city blocks. No matter how many locations we visit, I am still completely astounded by some of the images of decay and destruction. Certain parts of the city look like the battleground of some long forgotten war. In a sense, there has been a war going on in Detroit for several decades; a war where no one wins and where the economy has incurred the most loses.

Detroit used to be the fourth largest city in the US. How did we let this once great city fall into such disarray? The more time I spend in these locations, the more desensitized I become to the surreal nature of the imagery. At the same time, I just can’t believe scenes like this exist in the United States.

At some point during our last visit, I was suddenly faced with a reality that I didn’t expect to experience. I am finding these kinds of scenes to actually be beautiful in their own right. I can’t explain the rationale nor do I fully understand it myself. Somehow, deep within, there is strong sense of serenity masked by decay and destruction. I found this to be especially true for the location portrayed in this photograph.

No one would build a summer home here, but the unnerving imagery of locations like this are uniquely beautiful. Like art, beauty can be found everywhere; you just have to know how to see it. The more I learn about photography, the more I learn about this hidden beauty. We often pass things off as what we perceive them to be but there is often so much more beneath the surface. This subterranean beauty cannot me learned, nor can it be taught. It takes conscious effort and it’s something that we all have to wrestle with throughout our lives. It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I am coming to the realization that there is a lot of truth in that statement.

7 responses

  • Michael Yagoda

    Michael Yagoda   gave props (30 Mar 2010):

    great pic...depressing but valid commentary...thanks!

  • P. Michael Bodigor

    P. Michael Bodigor gave props (30 Mar 2010):

    It is a beautiful photograph. sad but beautiful.

  • n n

    n n (Deleted) gave props (31 Mar 2010):

    Beautiful and melancolic...these two words goes hand in hand here, I like this a lot.

  • Denise Sarazin

    Denise Sarazin (Deleted) gave props (13 Jul 2010):

    Terrific photo and I really appreciate your commentary.

  • Woj

    Woj (Deleted) gave props (24 Sep 2010):

    nice, great color

  • Joe Schaf

    Joe Schaf   gave props (10 Oct 2010):

    Awesome Shot!

  • Sandy Adams

    Sandy Adams   gave props (26 Apr 2011):

    love the colors

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