Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mann, Abandoned




This book dwells exclusively on the numerous abandoned properties, scattered liberally across the Isle of Man. Some lie hidden in the depths of the Manx countryside, but others frequent the growing sprawl of the urban landscape.
Photographer Hazel Walsh deliberately uses little in the way of text to illustrate her point, but using a combination of colour and black and white images, focusses our attention on the dereliction of both residential and industrial buildings. Leaving the photographs to speak for themselves allows the page turner to reflect more purposefully on the images. They’re not all pretty little ‘tholtans’ showing the shift of communities and the irresistible pull of emigration, but graphic images of neglect and heartbreak through each generation.
Every building holds onto its tantalising secrets, although some abandoned personal items reveal scattered clues to their story. Despite the inherent dangers of wandering through derelict buildings, it’s always tempting to look behind a partially open door, or glance through a broken window, but in the case of this publication all you have to do is turn over the page.
Split definitively into two sections, ‘Mann, Abandoned’ also studies the Island’s industrial dereliction. Covering areas such as mining, and tourism, together with the disused prison and hospital it reminds us that other buildings, although less pleasing to the eye, deserve recognition in their own right.
Valerie Caine
© December 2011 

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