A Glimpse Into A Post-Apocalyptic World

The outskirts of town

Photographs Of Abandoned Locations
The remains of abandoned towns and buildings have provided inspiration for countless horror films and afternoon jaunts to the outskirts of town. But 25-year-old photographer Johnny Joo knows that abandoned places can offer much more than that: beauty.

Joo’s abandoned location photography stems from a love for adventure. Joo — who cites artists such as Salvador Dalí, Hayao Miyazaki, Jack Vettriano, and Gregory Crewdson as inspiration — started photographing these sites in 2006, and says that doing so allows him to show others an unknown and forgotten world amid everyday life.

“When I started photographing abandoned structures,” Joo said, “there wasn’t as much of a presence of ‘urbex’ or ‘urban exploration,’ and it was simply just adventuring, finding cool places and photographing them to document them along with everything else in life.”

For Joo, that “adventuring” has meant exploring a 28-building asylum complex straight out of a horror movie — loaded with ticks and moldy walls, inhabited only by stacks of medical records from a time when the mentally ill were treated with disregard. Each site Joo explores has a distinctive mood, which in a way anthropomorphizes them. “The structures become a victim; a marionette to nature’s decay,” Joo wrote when explaining the photographs in his book “Empty Spaces.”

The wider scope of Joo’s art isn’t about the inevitability of death and decay, though; it is about human connection.

“I want to be able to reach people and truly bring more people together in life,” Joo said. “I want to share art, human interaction, creativity. We’re all in this together, we may as well take the opportunity given to communicate and learn. Without using that, we are wasting so much.”

The morgue of an abandoned asylum.

A countryside home with a collapsed roof.
An abandoned home, still containing all of the person's belongings.
"The forest where time stopped."

A former restaurant signage factory and daycare.
Shipwreck outside of Astoria, Ore.
The town of Spectre, Alabama, an abandoned movie set from the filming of Big Fish.

A partially demolished Brewster Douglas building in Detroit that no longer exists.
An abandoned car overtaken by nature.

A former Dixies Diner and truckers rest stop in Pennsylvania.
The former Knox County Poorhouse in Ohio that burned down in 2015.
The abandoned neighborhood of Lincoln Way in Pennsylvania.
An abandoned playhouse in a Pennsylvania elementary school.
The abandoned Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
A box seat at the abandoned Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.

A theatre inside of the Randall Park Mall, once one of the largest in the country, in Randall, Ohio.
The Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.
The Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, after a snowfall.
The abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans.
St. Peter and Paul Church in Pittsburgh, Penn.
A Victorian home in Ohio.


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