Autopsy Of America (Review)

Urbex or urban exploration is a subject that fascinates me, so the book of photographs by Seph Lawless, Autopsy of America had to come home with me. Pathos floods over the mind when pondering the images of this book. This reader wasn’t in quite the right mindset when I sat down to examine the pictures.

The sky was gloomy with heavy overcast and intermittent thundershowers. I settled back in the easy chair to rest my recently re-injured back that hurt like crazy. The nearest object was Autopsy of America. I couldn’t tear myself away from the strangely beautiful images of abandonment, decay, and decrepitude. Each picture showed  hopelessness and neglect.

The book reveals a part of America that most of us don’t regularly see. As  Lawless once told ABC News, “I want Americans to see what is happening in their county [sic] from the comfort of their suburban homes and smartphones.” Lawless created this work as a sort of anti-capitalism political tome.

His personal background provides the source material for his expression. Wikipedia says Seph Lawless “…is a pseudonymous American photographer best known for his photos of urban decay and abandoned spaces across the United States.” He was born in Cleveland and lived part of his childhood in Detroit as the son of a Ford Motor Company worker. The collapse of the American auto industry shadowed the times of his youth.

Most of the photographs in Autopsy of America were shot in the “rustbelt” of Ohio, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania. Each image is worthy of study. I was drawn into the photos of rundown Victorian style homes. I wondered about the people who once lived in them. Most striking are the interior shots of abandoned shopping malls. In fact, Lawless has a separate book called Black Friday: The Collapse of the American Shopping Mall. This is something I will also want to view. If you want to see examples of his photography go to . Many of the images on his website are in Autopsy of America.

I have a favorable attitude about this book and recommend his photography to everyone. Do prepare your emotional state for Lawless’ pessimistic views of America.

{ Autopsy Of America by Seph Lawless; 200 pages, published May 30, 2017 by Carpet Bombing Culture (UK); ISBN: 978-1908211-49-1 }

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes educator/philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott. “We climb to heaven most often on the ruins of our cherished plans, finding our failures were successes.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in art, Books, Controversy, cultural highlights, photography, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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