The sight of decrepit, abandoned buildings can evoke many different reactions. They can inspire or disgust, educate or anger, thrill or frighten. Abandoned buildings serve as a reminder of our history—as well as our disappointments—and the art created of them can paint a vivid picture of urban decay.
Being the oddball out of capital cities, Atlanta was not built on a major body of water. Instead, it grew as a central railroad hub of ill repute. It was a city of prostitution, gambling, and violence for a long time. This history must be remembered in order to fully understand its present. With a foundation built around the railroad, it was only a matter of time before the technical advancements of the Industrial Revolution made that form of transportation obsolete. Since then Atlanta has recreated its status as ‘transportation hub’ through the Hartsfield International Airport (the biggest in the states). And with the airport, the city became again a center for prostitution.
The majority of Atlanta’s history is riddled with racism, capitalist incentives, and middle class individualism, all factors that led to the ‘white flight’ into the suburbs of the 60s and 70s. Large amounts of middle and upper class taxpayers left urban residences for plush, safe suburban living, taking with them millions of tax dollars which left the city of Atlanta struggling. Decades pushed forward and the suburbs of Atlanta (especially to the North of the city) flourished as the city itself fell into disrepair. Once funded schools, public works buildings, prisons, and rail yards emptied then decayed.
The city is sprinkled with these relics of a bygone era, including the main characters of the photographs from two high school photographers, Dani P. (age 14, grade 9) and Devin B. (age 17, grade 12). Through their work, Dani and Devin tell us the story of a forgotten Atlanta, an abandoned Atlanta. They use these dilapidated leftovers to explain the consequences of urban decay and shed some much needed light into the stories of the abandoned.