Skip to content

Ben Marcin: Last House Standing (And Other Stories)

December 18, 2013 - January 25, 2014

The exhibition is a survey of three photographic essays by Ben Marcin. The series “Last House Standing” features solo row houses found in cities along the Eastern seaboard that were once part of entire city blocks. The majority of these photographs were taken in Baltimore, which has proved to be extremely prescient as over the next two and a half years the city will expand its efforts to demolish over 1,500 abandoned houses. Other row houses were photographed in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA highlighting the fact that regardless of geographical location, many of these 19th century row houses have decayed and are being demolished due to time and demographic changes. Occasionally, one house is left standing and it is often still occupied. Marcin’s interest in these solitary buildings is not only in their ghostly beauty but in their odd placement in the urban landscape as they were clearly not designed to stand alone. When the last house standing becomes isolated, details of the building emerge that may have previously gone unnoticed.

Marcin has always held a strong interest in photographing residential places. In his series “A House Apart”, he focuses on the older, isolated houses found throughout the Northeastern United States where many of the homesteads and farms are being replaced by planned communities, mega-malls, industrial parks, and other forms of urban sprawl. Most of the houses in this series were photographed in and around the Baltimore-Washington corridor where they are becoming a rarer sight as the region becomes more congested and newer housing communities spread across the landscape.

More recently, Marcin has expanded his vision to include solitary houses found in the wide open spaces of the American West, particularly in the high desert regions of Eastern Colorado and the Sandhills of Western Nebraska. This section of the country is virtually treeless and the landscape is at once foreboding and beautiful. Houses can be separated by miles of nearly featureless expanse. Whereas the solo row houses of Last House Standing were once part of a thriving community – forced to stand alone because of major demographic and social changes – the solitary houses Marcin photographed out west were always meant to exist in complete isolation from outside influences and social networks. Yet the final outcome appears to be the same.

Back to Exhibitions List