Have eye-catching photographs of abandoned buildings crumbling into ruins become an internet cliché yet? Probably, but we don't care—especially when they're as gripping as these images of deserted asylums. Jeremy Harris's American Asylums: Moral Architecture in the 19th Century is more than just ruin porn: The series not only presents chipping paint, decrepit windows, and boxes of obsolete patient files; it also echoes the dehumanizing treatments and poor conditions that we now know occurred in these facilities, reminding us of the failures of our moral institutions.
In a mini-documentary seen on Gizmodo, Harris explains, "When I started the project, I was originally drawn to the architecture and photographing the architecture. But then as I visited more and more sites and saw more and more patient artifacts, it was also sort of to document the spaces before they're gone." Harris plans to donate the thousands of tools, papers, and trinkets to a museum.