Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the genre of office urban exploration photography?

Over the weekend, Boing Boing, Laughing Squid, and other cool blogs linked to Phillip Toledano's Bankrupt series, in which the photographer took photos of recently abandoned offices. I first came across Toledano's work about a month and a half ago while searching for new discoveries of photo books. I wondered then if Bankrupt is related philosophically to urban exploration photography. I think it is, but the series still leaves me cold, and I haven't fully decided why: Is it because there is electricity on in the buildings? Has the building not actually been abandoned? Is it because I spend a good portion of my life in an office and don't regard these images as new, or perhaps different enough from me? Is it the fluorescent lighting? Is it Toledano's aesthetic style? Is it because the rooms' architectural styles are so dreary?

What do you think? Is Bankrupt a twice-removed cousin from "traditional" urban exploration photography? Why or why not? Does Toledano's work resonate with you?

The links:

Phillip Toledano's online version of his Bankrupt series at mrtoledano.com

Toledano's online version of Bankrupt at philliptoledano.net

statement from philliptoledano.net

Do these images "document the high cost of human failure"? (I'm not convinced.)

Is there an "unsettling, Pompeii-like stillness to recently abandoned offices"? (Eh, maybe? I'm indifferent. Convince me otherwise...)

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