Are We Unfairly Stigmatizing Rust Belt Photography?

There are so many opinions on what is too often dismissed as “ruin porn.” The critics of ruin photography have some valid points, but too often write off what is actually a broad and diverse body of work, only because of its subject matter. So here’s a voice in favor of the photographic genre, broadly speaking.

Many people are not shy in expressing disdain for the kind of photography that has been branded as “ruin porn.” Though I have to say—as a Clevelander inundated with vacancy to the point one becomes forced to create a new perception of decay else shrink into a corner — I don’t get too moved by the critiques.


Well, let’s get the name thing out of the way first, because if the practice of photographing industrial and urban ruins was simply Ruin Photography as opposed to Ruin Porn then much of the debate wouldn’t exist. But it does. And we have the word “porn” to thank for it.

The power of language.

Because even before you get to analyze the practice of ruin photography on its own merit, you got the connotations of porn filmed over your judgment. And so the act of filming ruins becomes the act of filming…

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