This past Friday, I was admitted to the hospital because of a blocked artery in my heart.  After testing, they found a 90% blockage, performed an angioplasty, and then implanted a stent.  The process was tough to deal with, and the recovery may take a week or more.  So, in honor of my battered body, I decided now would be a great time to highlight some photos of useless dead junk, that still looked beautiful.  It’s a metaphor.

These photographs are part of the website and collection of Troy Paiva.  His site, called “Lost America” is full of abandoned places, junk machines, and moonlit landscapes all photographed in striking colors.  The effect is haunting, beautiful, and very eerie.  I absolutely love it.

A photographer since 1989, Paiva’s photographs are amazing, filmed using colored lighting in which time itself is altered.  The effect is unusual, leaving the subject still and dead, but the background alive and surreal.  Much of his work was filmed in the American Southwest, and many of the abandoned buildings have since been destroyed, reinforcing the ghostly effect.

His works are available on his website, and in his two books, “Lost America” 2003, and “Night Vision” 2008.  In addition, his photography has been featured in galleries from New York to San Francisco, and seen in books and magazines across the country.

I first learned of him through a friend’s website, and was amazed at the pictures.  I had spent a lot of time in the southwest, traveling by motorcycle and RV, and visiting all sorts of beautiful abandoned places.  The machines he captures, from aircraft to cars, from ocean liners to trains are all familiar, but now have a dreamlike quality.  They are frozen in time, in the most bizarre poses, forgotten by everyone except the artist.

Each photo conveys a sense of the memories embedded in the item, and the happiness that they once provided.  His shots of a water park in California are sad, but remind me of childhood places I once loved.   His shots of cold war installations, abandoned, are exactly as they were when people walked away.  It transports the viewer back to the past, and to the intensity of the time.  The stark colors give you an eerie feeling of spying, the buildings seem post apocalyptic, and the effect is something akin to a Kubrick movie.

I have been looking for an opportunity to highlight his work for a long time, and am very happy to recommend his website to everyone.  Please take the time to view each of the galleries, buy the book, and purchase a print or two.  I am sure it will be like nothing you have ever seen before.  Thanks again to Troy Paiva, and Lost America.

Article courtesy of Chris Raymond
Photographs courtesy of Lost America

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