Photographer captures beauty in abandoned places

Seph Lawless has traveled the country to take photographs of abandoned and forgotten places. He recently visited with Art Holliday to explain why he's visited St. Louis more than a dozen times.

Photographer Seph Lawless travels the country photographing what he calls abandoned and broken buildings, and lately, he's been spending a lot of time in St. Louis.

"I want people to look at my photographs and see the beginning and the end of the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen," he said.

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America has perfected the art of walking away from abandoned amusement parks, high rise housing, schools, and shopping malls.

Seph Lawless has traveled thousands of miles with his camera, focusing on urban decay, the unused and undesirable.

"I started traveling all over America to some of the most broken and abandoned parts of the country," he said. "And I started readily sharing those images. I thought it was important for people to see."

He says he's been to St. Louis at least a dozen times to take pictures of abandoned schools, factories, and malls. He recently shot photos and video at Jamestown Mall, and like many of his abandoned mall images, the photographs told a story all about history and nostalgia.

GALLERY: Photographs by Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless is a pseudonym. It's not the photographer's real name. One of the reasons he goes by pseudonym is because of his habit of repeatedly trespassing with his camera.

"I started getting warrants for my arrest for criminal trespassing and I thought I could do my work a little bit under the radar," he explained.

With numerous media interviews and feature stories, and a five-book deal with a New York publisher, Lawless is far from under the radar. He's OK with that because when he clicks his shutter, he's trying to click with people.

"It's very sobering," he explained. "It's very sad and I think it's very poignant and important thing for people to see."

Follow Lawless online at:





His books, Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation and Abandoned: Hauntingly Beautiful Deserted Theme Parks, are both available on Amazon.