Montana ghost town views.


Katharina Fitz

Post-Industrial England’s Boarded-Up Houses

In Europe today, there are around 11 million empty and unoccupied homes, 610,000 of which are in England. Large-scale vacancy in cities is often a sign of great upheaval within the urban space.

Focusing on typical, Victorian working-class terraced houses in post-industrial Liverpool and Manchester, this project highlights the sheer volume of long-term vacancies in the UK. It is a critical reflection on the unoccupied homes in England—as well as Europe—and their relation to the social housing market.

In times past, these historical houses symbolized the collective past of a flourishing industry and a strong working-class community. Nowadays, hundreds of houses in fairly good condition within former industrial cities stand abandoned and boarded-up awaiting demolition.

From an aesthetic point of view, boarded-up windows create a melancholic, mysterious, and sculptural atmosphere. In Gaston Bachelard’s book “The Poetics of Space,” windows are described as the souls of houses: when lit up at night, they give us access to their inner lives, their histories, and memories of past times.

By contrast, these images radiate uncertainty in relation to their future, which produces a sense of instability. The aims of the project are to create a conscious reflection of vacant houses and an awareness of the constant structural changes of our cities.

—Katharina Fitz

Sur les Traces d’un Passé Urbain (On the Traces Of An Urban Past) is a fine book of photos of French ghostsigns as revealed on the fascias and walls of the country’s redundant shops. Created and published by @pixdar (Pixdar Photographies) there are many glorious leftover delights on show in the uniform large format one-to-a-page shots (some of which I’ve snapped myself on recent trips to France).

69 photos in all in this pleasingly produced volume, available here for £17.50