Urban decay is the phenomenon that occurs when the areas and infrastructure of a city become a little worse for wear after overuse and neglect. Photos of urban decay are interesting because they tend to invoke strong emotions.
It is distressing to see the cities we build fall into disrepair, to see a crumbling building or an abandon rail track. Our environment is somehow a reflection of ourselves. When an area is clean and new, we walk amongst it with pride, but when things go bad and lose their polish, we hang our heads. They remind us of our ability to waste and make a mess of things.
Still, one man’s mess is another’s treasure, and for many photographers, decay is the visual expression of a life lived, like the wrinkles in the corner of a grandmother’s eyes. They view the unplanned roughness of neglected urban pockets as honest, no more flawed than the people who walk amongst them. For them, you must take such places as they are and reserve your criticism, because somewhere between the peeling paint and rusted metal there is the soul of a place that has been through too much to pretend to be anything besides what it is.
Share your own images of worn urban landscapes by tagging them with #urbandecay.