Dead Zones

What Recession Looks Like

Two Houses. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Stuffed Toys. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Burned Bath. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Kitchen, No Bar. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

AK-47. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Untitled. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Laundry Area. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Backyard, Trampoline. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Safe. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

Trophies, Cross. (Photo: Douglas R. Smith)

If you want to know what economic collapse looks like, Douglas R. Smith‘s photographs of foreclosed homes in California’s Central Valley tell the story. In his series Scenes from Surrendered Homes, visual evidence of the recession (and its personal circumstances) is depicted in heartbreaking detail: A box of sports trophies left behind and a kitchen stripped of all appliances and cabinetry; a colorful pile of abandoned stuffed animals and a giant backyard trampoline left to rot. It’s the type of imagery that reminds you how delicate this whole experiment can be, and how little control any of us have. On a day when the country deserves some reassurance about its rebounding employment numbers, the news is overshadowed by more talk of Wall Street meltdown. It makes these photographs all the more relevant. To view Scenes from Surrendered Homes in its entirety, visit Smith’s website.

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