We’re all familiar by now with the term “ruin porn,” a phrase that connotes a certain kind of image of an abandoned or deteriorating space, for the purpose of taking some kind of pleasure or fascination with the dilapidation. But often these photos neither focus on a single subject nor end up being technically strong.
Enter the work of Gigi Cifali. His project, “The Absence of Water,” focuses on abandoned public pools across the United Kingdom. The London-based photographer entered the abandoned bathhouses and lidos of years past, to find how algae had formed, tiles had cracked, and just how empty and alone these cavernous spaces look when unoccupied. The photographer, who earned a Master’s degree in photojournalism, created here a kind of catalog of a past ideal and culture, through the idea of vacancy.
This is how the artist describes the project:
Having been built in the late Victorian period, public lidos and baths were at the peak of their popularity in the 1930s. Gradually, living conditions and tastes have changed, resulting in a drop of attendances, leaving the public pools uneconomical to run. Many fell into decay and many were demolished. Symbols of civic and architectural pride in Victorian times, today only a handful of them remain as a representation of bygone era.
Look at more of Cifali’s work on his website.