What is it that attracts us to decay? You don’t have to be a photographer to enjoy a medieval castle, a rusting car, or even a squashed orange peel, but it definitely helps.
Enjoy an Orange Today! (Credits Julian Pardoe)
With wrecks and ruins (of the ancient kind) the appeal may be nostalgia or romanticism. The poignancy of yesteryear’s hot rod rusting on a verge is easily felt.
Visually too, tumble-down walls and rusty bumpers have their own unique textures and broken forms.
The aesthetics of trash are partly just an extension of these themes. What could convey transience and the poignancy of a lost past more directly than garbage? A rotting and chaotic rubbish-heap may provoke a search for hidden order.
But rubbish has a special, surreal charm not shared by wrecks or ruins. Where else could you hope to witness the “chance meeting […] of a sewing-machine and an umbrella”?