Beautiful Decay

© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul
© Linda Paul

As promised before I would like to present the work of the participants of my latest workshop, which are two in numbers; first an eWorkshop that was running over eight weeks during spring and then secondly a regular photo workshop in Villajoyosa, Spain, running over one week in May. I will alternate the presentations between the two workshops.

As the first to go I am very happy to present Linda Paul’s personal photo project about decay and abandonment. She participated in the eWorkshop and showed some amazing development during the eight weeks, which I think is right to say, all culminated in this project. Linda Paul directed her camera to the open plains of Idaho where leftovers from man and rural societies were her focus. She brings an aesthetic that particularly in the photos of details is quiet and reflective. We see sadness in the remnants of what was once elements of people’s lives, but at the same time she shows us the beauty in the decay. It’s as if people could appear again at any time, pick up the pieces and continue their simple life. Yet, we feel the absolute abandonment, these are lives that have been lived, these are objects that will never shine again, except as remainders in Linda Paul’s beautiful images. Through the way she has processed the images we are transcended to a time long gone, we feel a longing and melancholy, as if it’s our own past we look down upon.

The pictures shown here are only a few representative examples from Linda Paul’s project. Go to Linda’s post Looking at time through a lens for more pictures. What do you think about the images? What emotions do they evoke in you?


86 thoughts on “Beautiful Decay

  1. earlharrisphotography cracks me up! Thank you so much Otto, not only for your kind words that elevate my images to new heights, but for your patience and dedication to all of us, your students.It was a lucky day for me, when I stumbled upon your blog and began to follow you, which lead me to your online workshop.

  2. I like Linda Paul’s photos, the shot of the hat on the old feather pillow and the blanket with the tufts of wool brought memories of the cottage , even the musty smell. I never knew how much there was to photograph in an old salvage yard until my first visit to one with the photo club-chock full of photo ops! The play of light and shadow on these abandoned objects elicit many memories and emotions.

  3. Great to see Linda’s images showcased here, Otto. I am a great believer in beauty being found in decay….a theme I frequently return to.

  4. Wonderful photos! Linda has captured the atmosphere of “left behind” so well. As if these items are waiting for their owner to return but it is clear he/she never will. Beautiful work!

  5. Bellissime foto queste di Linda che ha saputo cogliere il senso di abbandono in maniera veramente eccezionale, Si può quasi toccare con mano da tanto sono espressive le sue immagini!!
    Grazie per averle mostrate caro Otto.
    Ciao, Patrizia

  6. Hej Otto, så trevligt att få ta del av de bilder som skapats under dina workshops. Lindas bilder är fantastiskt vackra och bär på en historia väl värd att föreviga och bevara för framtiden. Ska absolut gå in på hennes blogg.
    Bästa Hälsningar

  7. Linda does such beautiful work, I love how these images tell a story and what a wonderful vintage feel, perfect in these sepia tones.

  8. You are right about there being multiple emotions. Each one valid and quite different. Each abandoned item has its own story and you can wonder about that as you go on. Sometimes I wonder who would leave such things in the middle of nowhere just to rot? Were they too lazy to dispose of them properly? Did they not care about the affect on the environment? Were they forced to part with something they loved against their will? Were they too defeated? So many questions.

    1. Those question are what makes abandoned items so interesting, because that’s when they start to take on a life of their own. Just imagine following the life of the stool. Fascinating thoughts.

  9. ah; the images prompt a sense of nostalgia at what we’ve lost.. of times when life wasn’t so hurried; when visiting with neighbors and checking on the elderly or sick was a moral responsibility that came from the heart.

    i wondered who might have ridden in the back of that truck – and the stories that the truck might tell if it could talk. i wondered about the people who sat in the comfort of those two recliners, and the worries or perhaps laughs that came from those people.

    each photo prompts many creative thoughts, and i’m glad to have had some quiet time at this hotel before shoving back towards home on the river.

    have a good day, amigos!.


    1. Yes, all those stories hidden under the dust and decay… And I do think they bring about a nostalgic sense when people took care of each other, and maybe where closer to each other. I don’t think it’s better or worse these days – just different.

  10. It has been an enormous pleasure to bask in the spotlight of Otto’s stage. I thank each and every individual who took time to praise my work. I sense that as I explore the topic of decay even further with my photographs, I must be wary about being trite. It is true, that old stuff is a common thread amongst photographers. It will be a challenge to see the subject in fresh, new ways. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. The truck radio instantly brought back childhood memories. I could actually feel the hot, dry sun on my skin for an instant. How delightful to find out that Linda Paul’s photographs are of Idaho, my childhood home. Thank you for introducing us.

  12. Hi Otto, these are wonderful photos, you really get a sense of abandonment from them all. It makes me think of the folks that may have used these items and perhaps what they were like, who they were? I really am drawn in particular to the car radio, the lighting is fantastic and the framing is perfect.

  13. I like the choice of objects to illustrate the topic and in particular I like the photographic interpretation – the viewpoint, the composition, the cropping, the processing etc. I also appreciated your commentary, Otto. It is interesting to share the thoughts of the viewer.

  14. I think the images are beautiful .. but they seem a bit sad. Old furniture, cars … seem cast away … Also, the colours make them feel somber to me as well.

  15. Linda’s pictures evoke memories of my younger years growing up in the rural areas near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.. Everyone drove an interesting truck, along with an interesting story to tell as well. They were GOOD times! Her photographsl tell a great story.

  16. Great shots, my first look at this series and they reminded me of some scenes I have seen…incredible how these photos bring back rich memories. Linda has an incredible eye for detail and building a story. Wonderful work.

  17. I’m late here now, just back from my “disconnected” almost analog holiday. I agree with most of comments here. Linda’s photos are beautiful and interesting. Nice to see and interesting because their relation with the time. Photographers are very sensible to time, can be exposure time (a fraction of second) or the time we try to stop with our images. But there is also a no-time mood that sometimes is created by good photographers, Linda is one special in it.
    I’m very impressed by the radio photo: music, analog controls, voice: it’s great, a jump back when I was young…Grazie per queste foto, bravi Linda and you!

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