This week, share a post about something that’s about to disappear — but worth remembering.
We live in a strange cultural moment, where we project our obsessions and fantasies in equal measure on novelty (self-driving cars! Artificial intelligence! Virtual reality!) and nostalgia (everything vintage, artisanal, or made to feel aged and worn). We want old things to work like new ones, and new ones to preserve an aura of the old.
Check out Discover’s archive of posts on nostalgia for posts on related topics.
This dynamic became apparent to me when working on a recent Discover feature on history-lovers and photographers who focus on a peculiar niche: documenting old, crumbling buildings in all their glorious decay. Unlike many of us, these bloggers don’t try to gloss over the many blemishes time tends to inflict on people and inanimate objects alike. On the contrary, they show that complex, rich beauty is present in places where we don’t expect it. As one of the featured bloggers, Leland Kent from Abandoned Southeast, put it:
These amazing buildings were lost to time and forgotten. I wanted to share with the world the things I was seeing and experiencing inside places people rarely go or get to see.
The comments other bloggers have left since the piece was published show how valuable these photographic conservation projects can be. “Decay represents a history which brought us to where we are.” “It is amazing how something seemingly ruined, worthy of being destroyed, can appear so beautiful.” “I love how beauty can be found in unlikely places.”
If you could single-handedly prevent something about to disappear from falling into oblivion, what would it be? Whether a place, an object, a word, a custom, a smell, even a person — what would you save for posterity? Your post this week is your chance to play archivist: whether in writing, in a visual medium, or in any other form you’d like, help us remember something hard to find, easy to miss, or about to go extinct. I can’t wait to explore your mementos!