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Old 02-15-2014, 02:23 PM
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America's Rust Belt

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Perhaps no other region in the country has more eerie examples of urban decay than the once dominant industrial region known as the Rust Belt. Covering the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the region is plagued by a number of abandoned factories, houses and buildings that lay in crumbling ruins.

While the abandonment of many of these spaces was driven by industrial decline, most of the decay stem from exposure to the elements. In his reports from abandoned cities such as Chernobyl, Ukraine and Varosha, Cyprus for his best-selling book "The World Without Us," Alan Weisman wrote that structures crumble as weather does unrepaired damage and other life forms create new habitats. A common structure would begin to fall apart as water eventually leaks into the roof, erodes the wood and rusts the nail. Many of these abandoned Rust Belt structures will eventually collapse.

That danger has not deterred photographer Seph Lawless from exploring these abandoned spaces and documenting their imminent collapse. In 2012, he set out across the United States to photograph the "most broken parts of America." He came back with approximately 3,000 images and 17 hours of video footage. This year, Lawless released his book "Autopsy of America," a culmination of this work.

And while Lawless has photographed urban decay in numerous locations across the country, the Rust Belt is the most significant for him. "It was challenging to photograph the Rust Belt region of the U.S," Lawless told weather.com. "My father, who was raised in Detroit and eventually moved to Cleveland, was a longtime Ford auto worker. The catastrophic loss of population and manufacturing jobs in those cities was really overwhelming for me."

Lawless shares much of his photography on Facebook and Instagram, where he has amassed a large numbers of followers. He has used his popularity in these social networks to bring attention to issues and organizations he is passionate about, including Feed the Children and the ACLU. Through social networks, the popularity of his photos of America's abandoned buildings has also extended to an unlikely place — Pakistan.

"They are fascinated by the American architecture of the abandoned buildings that I photograph, while others are merely drawn to seeing a different side of America that they never knew existed," Lawless said about his Pakistani followers. "A Pakistani professor there recently started using my images to inspire creative thinking and writing among his students. He has a student pick an image of mine from my website and then they write a poem inspired by that image."

Lawless plans on visiting Pakistan for a photography project focusing on that country's artists, in hopes of presenting a different side of Pakistan to Americans.

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  #2  
Old 02-15-2014, 02:56 PM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

Some awesome pictures

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Old 02-16-2014, 03:40 PM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

Damn it! I'm getting the travel/exploration itch, again. I wish this snow would disappear.

Great pics.

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Old 02-16-2014, 07:36 PM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

Great pictures!

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Old 02-17-2014, 04:45 PM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

Stunning images

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Old 02-23-2014, 01:04 AM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

Love these kind of photos!!

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Old 02-24-2014, 05:26 PM
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Re: America's Rust Belt

ghost towns

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