"The Beauty of Decay" Project. 2000 - Present

28 images Created 24 Aug 2020

“I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.” - Henry Miller

The Beauty of Decay project began in 2001 when a friend told me about a human skull and a full set of human bones stored in his mothers attic in England. The bones belonged to a relative that was studying medicine in the early 1900’s and back then if you wanted to be a doctor a full skeleton was part of your study kit. I told my friend that I would be interested in having the skull for a possible project, so his mother shipped it to me.

When the skull arrived I studied and connected with it for several months. A good friend who is a surgeon looked at it and it was a 10 - 13 year old European female and we estimated it to be 150 to 200 years old.

The patina on the skull was striking to me and I saw the transformation caused by aging as beautiful. Decay is beautiful. Together with the skull camera we go to places of decay to try and understand why certain levels of decomposition are perceived as offensive instead of another fascinating progression of nature.

One of the main focal points of this project has been a vast collection of abandoned homesteads in Wonder Valley, California. In the 1950’s and 1960’s hundreds of people built 16’ x 20’ homes on open flat desert in order to acquire five acres of land for free. By the 1970’s and 1980’s most of the homesteads were abandoned and a great number of them still have their belongings from the people who lived there.

I’ve spent the last seven years documenting these modest homes in their various forms of deterioration. I found it interesting to witness the excess and accumulation of stuff that people need to acquire to make them feel at home.
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