Matt Emmett's Industrial Decay

  • by Jenny Bahn

Photographer Matt Emmett specializes in decay. Empty bookshelves, stagnant ponds, crumbling staircases: His lens focuses on the things we have left and moved on from in haste, be it from unknown circumstance or in the name of the eternal drum of progress. Time and nature ravage his subjects, creating images that are both confounding and haunting. In Emmett’s photographs, spectacle--be it the azure sweep of crumbling cathedral ceilings or a building made of countless tons of rusting steel--is left to rot.

Most awe inspiring, perhaps, are his industrial images, if for the scale alone. Like stills from a post-apocalypse sci-fi film, Emmett documents the interiors of once top-secret factories, where companies churned out various worldly needs in a mode they had since moved on from. Pipes are left empty, control centers untouched, the vibrant fuzz of moss begins its inevitable encroachment. Without man to keep it at bay, the buildings begin their slow absorption back into the natural environment.

It is a fascinating portrait of the speed at which change happens, and how readily we abandon what we had so previously been so very invested in. Emmett’s buildings are the hulking casualties of progress.

 Photos courtesy of Matt Emmett


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