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Feb 2004 / the ordinary eye :: email this story to a friend

Decadent Decay
By David Scheu

This series was taken in and around a vacant industrial building here in St. Louis. The 1890s building, with its nearly three-foot-thick brick walls and decaying roof, felt and smelled like a cave. Empty but for the occasional artifact or pile of debris, the building nevertheless impressed me with its solidity and sense of former importance. But on that particular day, a clear sky let the bright sun pierce in through every window, awakening the spaces and their sparse contents as if for the first time in decades. The effect was beautiful — even the thick layer of dirt looked luxurious in that warm glow.

Any photograph derives interpretive power from the photographer's choice of subjects — of where and on what to focus the camera lens. In these images, I focused my attention on that day's essential meeting of darkness and light by removing from view everything that was not entirely one or the other.

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