It’s almost impossible to take your eyes away from the color and mostly black-and-white images taken by Minnesota-reared photographer John Mulhouse.
The photographs especially show a side of Augusta and other places in the area that few residents have seen.
That’s because Mulhouse’s primary fascination is with the insides of falling-apart buildings that have been either neglected or abandoned or rusted pickup trucks covered with kudzu vines or factories now quiet that once were alive with workers and financially profitable.
His photos of the Horse Creek Valley, Getzen’s Pond and the lost city of Hamburg in South Carolina and of such places in Augusta as the old Davidson Fine Arts School, Miller Theater and Goodale Inn have attracted national and international attention and fans through his blog site cityofdust.blogspot.com.
Almost just as interesting is his accompanying historical research about the things he photographs.
The main branch of the Augusta Public Library, 823 Telfair St., as part of the upcoming Augusta Photo Festival is playing host to a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, to open an exhibit of his highly unusual photographs. It will remain on display until Nov. 5.
Mulhouse, a plant ecologist and botanist who now lives in Albuquerque, N.M., will be in town to present a free talk about his photography at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in the library’s first floor auditorium.
He told the Web site theamericanclassic.org that his obsession in photographing “the lost and wondrous wreckage of America” began in 2003 when he moved to Augusta.
“I saw old buildings everywhere, some built as early as the 1700s, and just left vacant,” he said. “So, I started photographing. At first I didn’t even own a real camera. I used disposables from Walgreens. I liked roaming around the vacant streets of downtown Augusta on a Saturday morning taking pictures. At the time, the desolation fit my mood. I related to these lost old wrecks and grew very fond of many. I was just taking the pictures for myself.”
His photographic art took on deeper dimensions when his brother gave him a Minolta camera one Christmas.
That led to a book of his photos and his quest of the unusual and interesting.