One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and one man’s ruin is another man’s scenic landscape shot. Just ask Pablo Maurer, a photographer specializing in overgrown scenic destinations.
Maurer became famous after publishing his “Abandoned States” photography series on @DCist last year. In the series, Maurer collected old destination postcards, then photographed the sites in their current, abandoned state. The final gifs, which shift seamlessly from the idealized old images to the dilapidated state they’re currently in, are a fascinating study in decay.
Maurer has always been fascinated by abandoned sites, but the event that sparked the comparison series was the picture on a matchbox he found at the abandoned Penn Hills Resort in Pennsylvania. While exploring the rest of the resort, he was able to find the pool pictured on the matchbox and snap some comparison shots. He described the contrast as like “some sort of dystopian View-Master, each image on the wheel darker than the next.”
After finding a whole set of old holiday postcards on Ebay, Maurer slowly started visiting the places in the photos to see what they looked like today.
He’s become the unofficial photographer for a lost generation of resorts across the Poconos and the Catskills, vacation towns that flourished for a short time in the 50’s and 60’s before going bankrupt. Today, the formerly-bustling sites have been reclaimed by nature.
“The images inspire emotion that’s really difficult to put your finger on. It’s a little melancholy,” Maurer says.
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