The Mon Valley (2017)
These photos were taken during my July 10, 2017 exploration of the Monongahela River Valley, southeast of Pittsburgh, PA. I made stops in Donora, Monessen and Brownsville and scouted the neighboring towns of Roscoe, Coal Center and Monongahela. The skies became cloudier and more threatening as the day progressed — rainstorms rolled in after 2pm, forcing an end to my Mon Valley expediton.
There is a sub-genre of urban photography that I call ruins or abandoned photography: the exploration and documentation of crumbling structures, ideally (I guess) with original furnishings inside. Needless to say, trespassing is often involved. The Mon Valley is a popular destination for such photography — that is how I heard about Brownsville.
Although I do like shooting the aged and rusted and their interesting textures, I am not into the tragedy of urban blight. When I arrived in the Mon Valley and saw what I saw, I felt more depressed than artistic. I’m a composer, not a documentarian. Many of these images were hard for me to capture dispassionately. Yet it was a privilege to have seen this for myself.
And sad to say, it was hard to limit my selection of these images of decay to twelve.
A triple-bar symbol after the image title invites you to click on the image to view a larger version and read additional commentary. The titles and locations of all the photos in this gallery are listed below.
Titles and locations:
• Holy Name of The Blessed Virgin Mary Church (Donora)
• United Methodist Church (Monessen)
• At the Corner of Sketchy and Dicey (Monessen)
• Fifth Street Apartments (Monessen)
• The Valley Independent (Monessen)
• Health Market (Monessen)
• A Doorway on Market Street (Brownsville)
• Three Floors, Two Fireplaces (Brownsville)
• Entrance to Union Station (Brownsville)
• First Baptist Church (Brownsville)
• Brownsville General Hospital (Brownsville)
• Monongahela National Bank Reimagined (Brownsville)