It’s just a matter of time.
These images, which I began taking in the late summer of 2020, were certainly inspired by the global Covid-19 pandemic. So many restaurants and businesses are now in danger of having to close. Yet for some time prior to 2020 I had begun noticing more and more stores empty, shuttered, bereft of customers. Department stores. Big box stores. Chain stores. Independent restaurants. And national franchises. No doubt victims of a shift in retail patterns, especially consumers choosing to shop online. What I found most striking, however, was that this was all happening in suburbia, once considered a bastion of affluence. It’s no longer only cities and urban centers that are vulnerable to decline and decay; now the suburbs are crumbling, too.
The pandemic has forced me—and given me the opportunity—to look more closely at that which is showing signs of age and economic infirmity, and it strikes me that this disintegration is also a foreshadowing of what is to come.
These pictures are simply the beginning.
View more images in Steven Kushner’s new book, Suburban Decay, a photographic essay documenting the shifting economic patterns in suburban communities in northern New Jersey in 2020. You can purchase the book here.
Copyright © 2020 Steven Kushner
Steve is a Reform rabbi who, in his retirement, found purpose and meaning in photography. Although primarily a street photographer, of late he has turned to seeing the power in images of abandoned buildings and still lifes. His award-winning work has been presented in galleries and shows in New Jersey.