Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Urban Exploration of Baby Boomers' Crumbling Infrastructure


Post by Sharon

When my son was in high school he designed art for t-shirts sold at concerts and other venues. The premise of his designs he explained were based on the deterioration of the baby boomers' infrastructure. 



Evidence of abandoned mid century motels, gas stations, crumbling roads, and old-fashioned telephone poles littered the landscape for his budding generation. 



He found the aging and old-fashioned ad styling to be fascinating. In fact, it was so fascinating to him that today at the age of 31, he has his own illustration/branding business and his art is greatly influenced by mid century style.  

Urban exploration - the exploring and photographic chronicling of abandoned sites is a unique and satisfying hobby. 




When America built up its freeway system extensively following WWII, motels, roadside attractions, and rest stops spawned family road trips. 



Older highways that were once the favorites for driving include I-95, I-10, and Route 66. They offer lots of leftovers from mid century vacationing.


One of the best photographing opportunities is to capture signs that have aged over the decades including painted ads on sides of buildings. 





I've found that these signs are most often found in the oldest parts of town, the historic district, in mining towns, and industry towns that have fallen on hard times. As well, older highways that lost traffic due to newer highways are also filled with such signs. 


Don't be afraid to use Google Earth to hone in on areas. Sometimes, I look at the map of Arizona and find highways I didn't know where out there that led to agricultural or mining areas. They often have towns that look as if they are three quarters dead but old diners and broken down buildings remain where photo ops are perfection. If you can hone in from above on what looks like abandoned locations and then drop down to street level to drive it and look around in a virtual realm.

If you're really curious, look up the address and any potential photos of it online. Sometimes, you run into vintage pics done back in the day and you can compare.


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