The Shadows of Recession

© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson
© Terje I. Olsson

During the photo workshop in Villajoyosa, Spain, Terje I. Olsson focused on the economic recession in the country for his photo project. The economy in Spain has been under pressure for the last many years. It has translated into hardship for most Spaniards; unemployment, uncertainty, unrest, uneasiness and deprivation for too many. The first area to be hit by a recession is the housing market, which was very evident in Villajoyosa. Everywhere houses and apartments were being announced for sale or rent. That was what Terje captured with his camera. His images show beautiful houses, closed down and for sale, they show rundown house that has been on the market for a long time and his images show buildings under construction where the work has been stopped in the middle because of the recession. There is a glooming quietness in his photos, a telling contrast between beautiful colours and an almost lifeless atmosphere and his images convey a sense of downfall and almost death. His visual language is subtle, but all the more poignant.

73 thoughts on “The Shadows of Recession

  1. There is hint of sadness ruining along the the bright and beautiful color of houses in these pictures. I have seen the half under construction buildings under the economic run down before. They became monuments of the difficult time. Well done by Terje!

  2. I get a sense of foreboding after reading your post and examining terje’s images. the buildings were constructed with hope and belief in the future, painted and tended with love and hope, and the world slowly imploded. let’s hope for a renaissance, a rebirth as the human spirit reaches down and finds a way out of the maze.

    thanks for another beautiful glimpse into the diverse talent of your students!

  3. These images are all the more powerful for being minus human presence – simple, colourful and yet so very desolate…. Excellent.

  4. These images invoke sadness and empathy for those who lived in hope and lost their dreams. I feel so sorry for those in Spain, Greece and south Cyprus who have encountered such sudden hardship, particularly the young people. Great photos, showing a sensitivity for what is being photographed and the story behind the photos.

  5. It’s painful to see what had happened in the last years…and thinking in the time when everything will be ok again…. Ok? Again?
    Well captured images: colorful and sadly empty

    1. The really sad thing to think about is that these people had no influence on the economic downfall took all the loses – and those who did make it happen are hardly impacted by it.

  6. Well done Terje!
    The sense of “what was” is still woven within the “”what is” in these photos. Feels a bit lonely here. Reminds me of the way many places in New Orleans have become..

  7. Una situazione che stanno vivendo diverse Nazioni e che queste foto mettono bene in evidenza. Si spera che venga superato tutto e si possa tornare presto a vivere tempi migliori. Lo auguro a tutti!! Un caro saluto, Patrizia

  8. Excellent idea! This is an element of urban life that I have overlooked in my projects. I’ve photographed industrial decline but not decline as he has done, and apparently quite well. We’re pulling out of recession now, so I’ve missed a chance but it will come again at some point. I’m going to have to consider how I would include this aspect.

  9. Beautiful housings or halted constructions, this set of photos has some ‘recess quality’ about it.
    Good pics. And title too, surely. 🙂

  10. On my recent trip to Spain, I too was struck by the numerous residential and commercial properties put on the market. The same story can be seen in Los Angeles. And yet I read that the economy is recovering. Perhaps this is true for the wealthy few, but not for the vast majority.

    1. That seems to be the case, doesn’t it. The wealthier are recovering while the majority don’t – although the lucky minority talks about the trickle down effect. So far there hasn’t been much evidence of it….

  11. Terje certainly captured that “abandoned” atmosphere that seems prevalent in many towns across North America now. The colours and tones make you think this should be a vibrant area, yet there is no one around. A very sad and poignant study.

  12. So many countries have been in a deep recession for many years now and it is important to document what has and is happening. These photo’s give us a sense of what is happening, incredibly well done!

  13. I’m glad you provided a little backdrop of information to assist in interpreting the photos, Otto. My first impression was to focus on the colors and the interesting architectural detail. They are really excellent photos made a bit stronger by understanding the context. I love the first one–the colors and the two buildings in juxtaposition.

  14. Very sad. This is what Florida looked like back around 2010. People abandoned the houses they could no longer afford and the building boom came to a crashing halt as developers just walked away from projects. Here on Cape Cos there have been five vacant houses in my street for the past number of years that people walked away from that have just been sold within the past two months. Things are very slowly turning around.

  15. Nice photos. This is a perfect example of you can’t judge a book by its cover. The bright colours of the buildings, and the emptiness of the buildings, shows that seemingly happy people may be empty inside.

  16. These images are so stark and lonely; such a great presentation of what life is during a recession. Great series, and would love to see more of this work ~ while sad, it brings out emotions.

  17. Powerful and emotional and unfortunately all too common a sight across the globe these days. Such wonderful contrast in all these images and the sad story they tell.

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