I photographed vacated industrial facilities in Eastern Canada and the United States. Their back stories are familiar to many: once booming industries unable to face the challenges of changing markets leading to mothballing, decommissioning, bankruptcy.
I didn’t seek permission to access these places, but gained entry independently at night or on quiet Sunday afternoons when security checks were less frequent. This gave me the freedom to explore seemingly inert environments at my own pace and on my own terms.
These locations often blurred the line between activity and dormancy. It wasn’t always clear how much time had passed since people had last set foot inside. Paperwork and calendars only revealed so much and it sometimes appeared as though employees had left these facilities in an instant. It also seemed as though they could just as easily return.
It wasn’t so much the architecture or machinery within these places that attracted me. Rather, what affected me most were the more recognizable items I encountered: telephones, company memos, discarded articles of clothing, things I recognized from my own life.
These were also objects suggestive of people the systems designed to encourage their productivity. What I found in them was evidence of work’s illusory nature and that perhaps the premise of it leading us to a better place is not without its fallacies.