Creative Cauldron - Urban Decay

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Artist inspiration and artist influences. No biographies, dates or scholarly research here - this is a personal response to beauty in urban decay by Australian artist Fiona Morgan.

urban decay photo
Pic by designwallah - flâneur
The original photography group that first turned my head and made my brain pop with the discovery of a world of artists fascinated with the concept of urban decay and beauty in detritus was on Livejournal. The group is still going and still my favourite of the urban decay type photography groups that I know of.

These people go out and photograph what is around them in the streets, not out in the fields or forests. So rusted dumpsters, abandoned houses, leaves mashed onto the road and broken gates are the subjects instead of waterfalls, blue sky and magnificent trees. And no people.

urban decay photo
Pic by bellisario :: photography

It was my reaction to these photos that alerted me to my interest in texture. So many of these pictures rely on the complexity and randomness of the textures. I've since noticed that many of these photos that appeal to me also play with subtle colour variations (a part of the attraction of texture) and have an emphasis on line. Many are quite graphic and abstract. And many are 'simply' the result of someone walking around the neighbourhood with the ability to see what is before them through new eyes and use composition well.

urban decay photo
Pic by M i x y
urban decay photo
Pic by craigfinlay
What I particularly like about the LiveJournal group is the skew toward smaller scale compositions, and the emphasis on texture, colour and line. As opposed to most other sites on urban decay which have beautiful photos of abandoned buildings lit in a mesmerising manner as the photo above demonstrates. I think this style is stunning, but what really gets me hooked are examples like the first three on this post.

urban decay photo
Pic by siobhanm_baxter

This interest in urban decay photos began about ten years ago and I quickly adopted my own version which involved me pointing a fat camera lens really close up at rocks, squinting into tree bark and being chased away by loopy owners of rusting metal contraptions lying on the road. I was trying to shoot textures and build up a library. At some point I expect that this interest in texture will fully spill over into the paintings. And that will be fun.

This whole post was sparked off by the realisation that it's SoFoBoMo time of year again. I'm not participating this time as the cookbook is on the go and that is quite enough, but if you'd be interested in a self paced and self directed creative project, it's really neat. Go check it out.

And how does SoFoBoMo relate to urban decay? It was this interest in photography of the small scale, using found objects and an artistic eye that led to the Found Creatures theme of SoFoBoMo last year.

More urban decay photo links

A few more interesting urban decay links:

A few 'best of' collections of abandoned building urban decay photos:

About the Creative Cauldron series of posts

Creative Cauldron - artistic influences & inspiration for Australian artist Fiona MorganThe Creative Cauldron series of posts explores and showcases the visual styles, techniques, attitudes, ideas, artists and paintings that have had the most impact on me. 

The rest of the series is accessible via the Creative Cauldron page. Have a meander if you please, and remember to check out my artworks on Flickr, and have an insider peek at life as an artist on Facebook.

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