What can a mostly abandoned town offer its curious visitors? A collection of unusual sights and experiences, especially if it’s the scenic coal-mining town of Iaeger, West Virginia.
Part travelogue, part reflection, this book examines the rise and fall of a once-thriving community in the broader context of Appalachian history and American ghost towns.
Over 100 photos of vacant houses, storefronts, banks and civic buildings offer portholes into stories of advancing entropy and decomposition, adorned with the fantastical botanies of decaying plastic flowers, sculptures of debris and peeling paint.
They express the author’s wonder at the mix of Iaeger’s preserved stateliness and its showcases of neglect, the mystery of the buildings’ industrious past, and their deserted still-life presence.
More just than a documentation of a vanishing small town, this book hopes to inspire creative perspectives on decaying historic architecture and its potential for art, science and play.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Julia Solis has investigated ruined urban spaces since the 1990s and founded two arts organizations, Dark Passage and Ars Subterranea, to explore their possibilities for playful events and installations. Following philosophy studies at UCLA, she has published numerous photos, articles and stories, and the books New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City (Routledge, 2006) and Stages of Decay (Prestel, 2013). Her photos have appeared in a wide range of international media and exhibitions. Currently she is the creative director of the Seafoam Palace, a museum dedicated to absurdity and the new grotesque in Detroit.