One of the most exciting photo books I’ve read recently is Lisa and Tom Cuchara’s Create Fine Art Photographs from Historic Places and Rusty Things. These outstanding photographers, whom we might call denizens of the dusty, frequent abandoned factories, prisons, and asylums among other neglected places in search of creative and often iconic images. In these unlikely spaces, they find, or rather, they make photographs of great beauty and artful composition. In so doing, they breathe new life into what was once vital.
Their book displays many exciting photos that reveal both the latent beauty and the hidden colors of the spaces they visit. But the photos are more than merely beautiful; they often lay bare the soul of these forlorn places as they tell the stories of those who lived and worked in them.
Still, the photos are more than graphic interpretations of neglected spaces and abandoned things. They are also a set of lessons on photographic practices and how to bring potential to reality. Using HDR, panoramas, time exposures, creative lighting, and careful post-processing, they employ their photos as instructions in technique.
Above all, this book is a high source of inspiration. It witnesses the power of well executed photography to build exciting images in spaces that on the surface are run down and easily avoided or overlooked. There are lessons aplenty in this fine book. Whether you ever intend to set foot in an abandoned factory or junkyard, the Cucharas have plenty to teach about composition, technique, patience, and vision. And those are skills every one of us can benefit from by studying.