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October 2001
52 pages  

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Unquiet Ruin
A Photographic Excavation
O’Neill, Annie
A photographic essay exploring the hidden secrets of an abandoned factory and warehouse, slated for future gentrification, and examining the between-life of an old building.
Annie O’Neill has been a staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for the past six years. During that time she has been twice named Pennsylvania Photographer of the Year, has been honored by the National Press Photographers Association, and has displayed her work in shows in Pittsburgh and in Washington, D.C.
"O’Neill provides a record of the intermediate life of a building, poised between its industrial past and residential future. Graffiti and graffiti culture are revealed through photographs and dialogue over one-and-a-half years of documentation."—Barbara Luderowski, founder and Executive/Artistic Director of the Mattress Factory

“O’Neill leads us on a tour in which we peruse grafitti art, meet all the artists as well as homeless people. . . .and savor various facets of the structure itself. . . .In simple, elegant fashion [the book] defines the landmark’s troubled ‘soul,’ a duet of hope and despair, and ponders its future.”—Mike May, Pittsburgh

Complete Description Reviews

Award of Excellence, “Best Photography Book” category, Pictures of the Year International Competition Built in 1901, the Armstrong Cork Building was a thriving factory for more than seven decades. Now abandoned, its owners continue to seek a new life for this grand old structure as an apartment complex. But as Annie O’Neill’s photographs reveal, there’s still a vibrant energy within its walls. For more than eighteen months, O’Neill has been drawn to this building, seeking out its hidden nooks and crannies, finding surprisingly complex artwork on its walls, and connecting with former employees. The 400,000-square-foot building that once provided stoppers for beer and soda bottles now provides shelter for the homeless, a canvas for graffiti artists, a space for raves. An unguided tour of this late-Victorian factory, Unquiet Ruin complicates our view of abandoned buildings, reminding us that beauty is everywhere, if we only stop to look.


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