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Flown the coop — 100 Abandoned Houses

October 8, 2009


Kevin Bauman,

Kevin Bauman,

When I’m stressed I have stress dreams.  You probably do too.  Which type do you have?  The kind where you’re naked giving a speech in front of a crowd?  Where your teeth crumble in your mouth?  Where you have to catch a plane and you’re late?  Mine are most often about moving.  Well, not so much the moving as the packing.  Generally in the dream I have an hour, or a day, to be somewhere else and I have a huge office/room/house full of stuff that has to get from one place to another and no boxes to put anything in.  You can imagine the rest.  *shudder*

Photo by Laura Kicey, from Blurb Abandoned Images available on

Photo by Laura Kicey, from "Blurb Abandoned" Images available on

Oh, sure, it’s pretty obvious to me this probably relates to the fact that I spent my life moving from one place to another.  It may also help explain my fascination with abandoned places.  Life interrupted, not a museum with things artfully arranged.  It’s real life, given up on.  

Why?  What’s the story?  Why did that person just close the door and walk away?

I’m not the only one who wonders.

Photographer Laura Kicey is intrigued by abandoned places too.  You can visit her series of abandoned houses here.  The images are evocative — clothes on hangers and curtains in the windows.  Peeling paint and the coffee pot still on the stove.

In Detroit, photographer Kevin Bauman started documenting the city’s many abandoned houses and his photo collection comprises a candy-box like assortment of styles, forlorn and empty, richly evocative of times past.  He describes what started out as a hobby:

As the number of images grew, and a documentary style emerged, I switched from mostly black and white, to color, and decided to name the series 100 Abandoned Houses. 100 seemed like a lot, although the number of abandoned houses in Detroit is more like 12,000. Encompassing an area of over 138 square miles, Detroit has enough room to hold the land mass of San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan Island, yet the population has fallen from close to 2 million citizens, to most likely less than 800,000. With such a dramatic decline, the abandoned house problem is not likely to go away any time soon.


Photo by Kevin Bauman, images available at

Photo by Kevin Bauman, images available at


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff Wood permalink
    October 8, 2009 12:26 pm

    I love that picture. So stark and otherworldly.

    There are several rundown houses from the 1890s-1900s in my neighborhood. Sadly, I can only save one (and it was pretty much saved already).

  2. Katie permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:28 pm

    Laura Kicey is a friend and a fantastic photographer. I’ve had the privilege of poking around some old buildings with her myself.

    • Sabra Smith permalink*
      June 30, 2010 5:19 pm

      Katie — were you part of the expedition to the house of stairs (the one with the “dead” body and the rowdy raccoon in it)?

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