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Levy Library Blog

Beyond the Stacks: Urban Exploration and Photojournalism as a Reflection of Society

by Angelyn Thornton on 2021-05-19T14:07:50-04:00 | Comments


Ed Jessup, Public Services Librarian


Urban exploration and photojournalism makes for a great combination when presenting images of inner city decay, blight and sometimes surreal takes on architecture from a bygone era. The implications of this type of journalism are vast. The written word can explain a great deal but sometimes an image can capture something that words just cannot do justice. Photojournalists specializing in images through urban exploration are, in a large way, holding up a mirror to society, and capturing images that create a lot of intrigue and discomfort in to viewers. Nobody does this better than photojournalist and activist, Seph Lawless.

Seph Lawless is a burgeoning photographer, artist and activist who has really pushed the boundaries of urban exploration and photojournalism to really give people a very strong picture what is happing in America. Through his work, Lawless has really brought to the forefront how disposable things are in American culture and society. He work really points out the irreverence Americans tend to have for the past, preferring to move on, leaving ruins in its wake.


Photo by Seph Lawless via


Seph Lawless has been quoted on ABC news as saying, “I want Americans to see what is happening to their country from the comfort of their suburban homes and smart phones.” If anything positive has come from our electronic world, it’s the ability to reach people in their comfort zones and force them to think and evaluate things. So my resource recommendation from beyond the stacks is Seph Lawless’s website. Here you can get a smattering of his iconic and sometimes disturbing images of the sometimes not so distant past. His photo galleries of abandoned shopping centers, storm ravaged theme parks, majestic decomposing architecture in Detroit and other places, will peak the viewer’s curiosity. More importantly his images will make the viewer ruminate on our priorities as a society.


Photo by Seph Lawless via


Lawless S. SEPH LAWLESS : OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Seph Lawless. Published 2016. Accessed May 19, 2021.

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