Ohio-based photographer Seph Lawless has undertaken a project that shows “the world a different side of America. A vulnerable side.”

In his recent book Black Friday: The Collapse of the American Shopping Mall, this artist/activist documented the dilapidated state of two of Ohio’s largest shopping malls: Randall Park Mall and Rolling Acres. When it opened in the early 1970s, Randall Park was the largest mall in the world. Now it’s littered with debris. Set to be leveled later this year, this mall reflects the seriousness of the recent economic recession.

“I think an abandoned mall is symbolic of the economic decline of America and is a true indication of what happens when cities like Cleveland suffer massive population loss due to loss of manufacturing jobs,” the artist told Mail Online.

Industrial shopping complexes like malls have often been a token of America’s formidable economic growth and expansion. But they also embody an important cultural aspect as well. “I think a mall is a human connector. We all can relate to a mall in a very personal way,” the artist explained. The images reflect more than just an economic downturn; they are evidence of shifting populations and upended roots.

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[via Fubiz]