Photographer Johnny Joo explores abandoned structures overtaken by the natural surroundings that had originally been tamed to make space for them. Joo captures ferris wheels, cottages, malls, schools, armories, and thruways as they slip back into obscurity, covered in undergrowth, vines, and trees.
At the age of 16, Johnny began his journey into the world of the more forgotten, historically significant architectural pieces, which lay abandoned across our country. At the same time, he was introduced to the world of photography through black and white film, and from then on continued capturing the world around him, whether it was through nature or abandoned structures. He realized quickly that through a lens was how he could take his passion, and share it all with the world around him.
“I had become fascinated with every aspect. My favorite piece of it all was the fact that I was capturing, and freezing a moment in time that could last forever. At the age of 16, I became drawn to abandoned structures, upon the discovery of a dilapidated farm house in Kirtland, Ohio. We would always pass the home on route to my sister’s house, and one day I decided to photograph it. It was not long from here that I was sifting through papers in an abandoned Cleveland school, reading into the past – it was interesting seeing into these past lives.”
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the 27-year-old photographer has spent the last ten years traversing the country to explore abandoned spaces. In 2012, Joo started a blog, Architectural Afterlife, where he features his work and writes reflections on his explorations and the history of the all-but-forgotten locations.