What hurts more: bad going worse or good going bad?

What hurts more:  bad going badder or good going bad?

The very first contextual element I noticed about this photo was the viewpoint. Personally, going the dentist is something I dread more than anything else and seeing this photo reminded me of when I stand at the threshold between the hall and that damned room and feel chills crawling up my spine. I also noticed the various depths and layers in the photo. First you take in the machinery jutting out from the walls, the chair, sink, and prep table. Then you see the window, air unit and heater peaking through from behind. Amidst these layers are the decaying textures of the moldy yellow walls and equipment. The lighting seems dreary to me because the window is opaque, giving the room a suffocating sort of feel. The walls act as a framing tool for the photo and give the viewer an idea of the small size of the room (get me out!). Since part of the machinery is jutting out from the left wall our eyes follow the picture in a way that mimics the western-culture manner of reading left to right.

This dentist’s cabinet looks like it has been decaying for quite some time. The floor is covered with debris and the walls are peeling away like someone’s skin who has had a few doses too much of sun. While taking in each photo of “The Ruins of Detroit” I found that this one fit in especially well with portraying that eerie feeling that came with each click. The dentist usually isn’t a happy and cheery place to begin with, even if it’s fully intact with a friendly hygienist waiting to scrape away at your sensitive and frightened gums. This photo takes the feeling of going to the dentist to a whole new level of horror. It adds another element of creepiness to “The Ruins of Detroit” and works rather well with conveying the state that Detroit has been left in.

The photo succeeds in evoking strong emotion from the viewer regarding the abandonment of Detroit by showing a setting many of us are so familiar with in a state that we have not seen before. What would be more emotionally provoking and disturbing to the viewer? Seeing a setting that we typically think negatively of become even worse or seeing a setting that usually brings us feelings of joy and happiness become abandoned and essentially destroyed?

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One thought on “What hurts more: bad going worse or good going bad?

  1. First, I think you did a phenomenal job detailing the elements and cohesiveness of this photo within the photo essay. While my fear of the dentist is not so extreme, your point of view really brought on new feelings for this particular photo! In response to your question, I feel that both would be disturbing to the viewer and utilizing a bit of each could be most compelling, as in the case of “The Ruins of Detroit”. Images of things we typically see as positive being destroyed begins the unset of a depressed, dreary emotional state, then the introduction of an image of something we already view negatively takes this emotion to a new level of extremity.

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