Industrial and Commercial Decay

Recently I’ve speculated about the proportion of commercial property neglect to that of residential and farm abandonment. 3 to 1 perhaps? Guess it depends on where you are. In my experience, there seems to be a lot more commercial abandonment & decay. Commercial entities come and go, with sometimes reckless abandonment. All man-made creations require care & maintenance. Love, sweat and tears go into not only starting, but also maintaining it. For many different reasons, businesses fail, and relationship fail. Hopefully, there is less residential decay because relationships are the most important of the two.

Abandoned Gas Station Pumps
Abandoned Gas Station Pumps

In this post, I’m sharing some images from my new Industrial & Commercial Decay gallery. Like other Beauty of Decay galleries in my online portfolio, I’ll continue to focus on composition characteristics that inspire me — geometry & shapes, texture, and story telling.

Because of it’s close proximity to the main road in Jamestown, NC, the Abandoned Gas Station Pumps surely catch the eye of many passers by. Over the years as the town grew, it’s usefulness diminished. Self-serve and multi-island stations have taken the place of these full service relics. A short focal length and low shooting angle created a nice diminishing perspective for this image. I also used an Agfa APX 100 filter from Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 to get a little extra contrast and old school grain.

Filling Station Side Door
Filling Station Side Door

Around the right side of the station, I found a gnarly old door with a lot of texture character — Filling Station Side Door. Because of the shapes and textures, I originally intended to make this a black & white image. The aqua bricks and creamy yellow door colors quickly grew on me. To give a natural boost in contrast and saturation, the image received filtering to emulate Kodak Kodachrome slide film.

In Bared Window & Brick Composition, an extra window security bar forms a grid, which sits on a plane slightly askew to the brick wall and window grid patterns behind it. While experimenting with color film emulation filters in Exposure 7, I ended up making a few tweaks to the Fuji Pro 160C setting. A little contrast was pulled out of the tonal curve to give the image a slight pop in contrast and analog grain structure.  Click on the posting date to leave a like or comment at the end of the post.  You can also click on an image or image name to link to a higher res image on my portfolio site.

Bared Window & Brick Composition
Bared Window & Brick Composition

2 thoughts on “Industrial and Commercial Decay

  1. Fascinating post & beautiful compositions. It makes one wonder where American & Canadian society are headed. There are a number of photographers exploring this aspect of cultural change. When I compare these types of shots to those of old barns & farmhouses and to ruins in parts of Europe, it suggests to me a sad, but natural generational shift in culture & technology. Part of the difference for those of us in North America is that much of what was created in the 20th century will not last for very long without constant maintenance, unlike the stonework of previous centuries.


    1. Thanks Joseph for the thoughtful feedback. The book Cluetrian Manifesto from around 1999 framed our situation for me. Over the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the word “market” went from being a noun (a place to meet face to face to exchange goods & services) to a verb (getting people to consume mass produced goods). Hopefully the sustainability movement will help change minds and behaviors.


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