Out of Season by Mark Havens

Much of my work could be seen as an attempt to decelerate or suspend the irreversible flow of time. The Out of Season series uses the disappearing motels of Wildwood, New Jersey as its subject matter and endeavors to bring out the interplay of an idealized past and its inexorable disappearance. People inhabit these images only by inference and allusion and, in many ways, it’s this physical absence from which the work draws its strength. Impressions are made at a more elemental depth, beyond explicit communication, echoing that most universal

of all human experiences: the relentless passage of time what is left behind in its wake.

So many of my summers played out against the backdrop of the Wildwood’s unique motels that they seemed as unchangeable as mountains to me. But several years ago, amid a rush of condominium development, they began to disappear at an almost unbelievable rate. As motel after motel was demolished, I gradually began to realize that some part of myself was being destroyed as well. These photographs are not only about the loss of culturally important buildings, but also the personal loss of a place and time that has disappeared.

The photographs are purposely devoid of human presence or activity of any kind. This isolation clarifies the bold physical forms and, more importantly, serves as an analogue of the larger situation. Many of these buildings are empty not simply because the summer is over but because we’ve all, for better or worse, moved on.


First published in Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods by Mark Havens, published by Booth-Clibborn Editions (distributed in the U.S. by Abrams).

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