09 Sep 2013

“Last House Standing”

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Slate has a feature on the elegaic architectural photography of Ben Marcin who has made recording portraits of solitary surviving row houses in Baltimore into a personal métier.

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, there are roughly 16,000 vacant homes in Baltimore that the city plans to restore or destroy to replace with green spaces and housing redevelopment over the next 10 years. Many of the homes to be torn down are row homes, built in the late 1800s.

Photographer Ben Marcin lives in a Baltimore row house with his wife, Lynn. Several years ago, Marcin, a self-taught photographer who bought his first camera at 27, began noticing lone row houses in the blighted sections of the city. “For me it was a fascinating sight: a solitary structure, well over 100 years old, sometimes 40 feet tall and less than 20 feet wide,” he wrote via email. “An amputee shorn of its former neighbors, yet still retaining architectural details and other touches, proclaiming the heights of an earlier era.”

Marcin began photographing the individual homes during his visits to the desolate neighborhoods. He edited them into a series he calls “Last House Standing.” Many of the homes in the series are still occupied, though the city of Baltimore plans on using eminent domain to demolish largely vacant blocks.

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.

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