Christina Hasel Photography: Documenting the Past Through Old Buildings

By Lisa Orgler in Featured Artists > Photography

Some see tattered old buildings as a scar on the landscape. . . others, like Christina Hasel, see them as beautiful windows into the past.

A budding photographer by the age of fourteen, Christina grew up taking photos in Long Island, New York. She cultivated her craft by getting a Bachelor of Arts and is currently working towards her Masters in Art Education—both degrees with a concentration in photography.

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Christina focused entirely on black and white photography until a color photography class in college encouraged her to try something new. Initially she fought this change, but eventually fell in love with the new format.

It was this image—a beautiful, yet simple photo of a white structure with blue windows—that Christina credits for her change of heart.

Hasel Motel

She writes, “I think all artists have that moment, when they stand back from what they are working on and can’t help, but to smile because, finally… something has clicked.”

That photo is a great example of how Christina loves to capture scenes that appear simple, but which actually contains many special details.

For the past few years she has traveled the rural Northeast United States, capturing images for her current photographic series of old buildings. She describes it as “documenting the past through present day ruins.”

Her photos often create a certain visual irony by pairing formal composition with the informality of decomposed subjects. In the image below, Christina makes a point of centering the delicate, deteriorating building, giving it a clear sense of importance even though it is obviously at the end of its productive life.

Hasel House

When I studied this photo, I felt the faded sweetness of those red windows and began to wonder about who lived there, and why it was abandoned.

As with all of Christina’s photographs, the joy is in the details; in the character of the façades. And I think that the building below, with its worn paint, faded words, torn curtains, and oddly arranged architectural features, shows that every old structure has it’s own personality, if we’re just willing to look for it.

Hasel Diner

Please visit Christina Hasel’s website at www.christinahasel.com to experience more of her images. I especially encourage you to take a closer look at her photos of the rural Northeast—they’re a captivating documentation of our past.

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