Growing up in war-ravaged Lebanon, I witnessed the transformation of once vibrant buildings into rubble and the decline of neglected structures into states of hopeless disrepair on a wide scale. The first time I encountered dilapidated structures in the US, a sense of nostalgia and fascination with the desolation that accompanies abandoned architecture ignited my desire to seek out and photograph such places. Similar to well-preserved monuments, lost or abandoned structures provide us with a lens to comprehend the profound stories embedded in our urban landscapes over time. Each abandoned place possesses its unique charm and narrative, pieced together from the remnants of everyday life left behind. Often, in abandonment, the outlines of once vivid dreams become more distinct than during the peak of a structure’s existence.

The images showcased here encompass a wide range of locations, from old houses, barns, and ranches to derelict hotels, schools, factories, former prisons, stadiums, zoos, empty villas, and ghost towns. These photographs were captured without leaving any trace or altering the premises in any way, though some required trespassing, such as my visit to the off-limits former mining town of Gilman in Colorado. Walking through Gilman was one of the loneliest experiences I’ve had while photographing an abandoned location. Except for the sound of light rain and the crunch of broken glass underfoot, there was only an oppressive silence.

Another vivid example of abandonment and past human activity was my visit to the Linda Vista Community Hospital in Los Angeles, which had become a filming location and a hotspot for paranormal investigators since its closure. Within its eerie six-story building, the hallways and slowly decaying rooms echoed with the unmistakable traces of the hospital’s functional history—the patients and doctors who once filled its spaces and the myriad powerful stories that once reverberated within these now empty, silent walls.

The question of what transforms a place, once teeming with life, into a dark and vacant space always lingers. The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, in its own way, offers a glimpse into the past. I was moved by the cracks and rust in the prison cells, where walls transformed into abstract paintings as layers of paint, unevenly peeling away, unveiled a complex, decaying mosaic of color and texture. Beauty, it seems, can emerge from any corner, not just in the gleaming and pristine. I invite the viewer to sense the presence within abandonment, to contemplate the dreams that once filled these spaces and now lie dormant, and to appreciate the unique, doleful beauty that emerges amid the chaos of decay.