I came across these on tumblr but they’re actually a complete series on David Simonton’s website too. I’m typically bleh on ruin porn but I’m a sucker for Ellis Island photos from this time period.* I’m not sure exactly why.
*I mentioned Phillip Buehler’s series in my original Ruin Porn post but that seems to have dropped off the web.
I think it’s because of a number of things which make this more than just ruin porn—not the least of which is the skill of the photographers involved. But Ellis Island is such a specific location with a specific use case and evocative place in our history that I can feel the ghosts more.
These aren’t just any old decaying buildings. The context and history is there, framing everything, especially since these also serve as the before images for the spiffy cleaned up tourist attraction it is today.