January Book Club Pick

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A fascinating and inherently nostalgic endeavor, Apparitions is a “photography project about buildings that have vanished from our cities.”

The author takes the reader on a decidedly unique journey across 60 U.S. cities to discover the buildings that once were by viewing what now remains and “ghosting” pictures of the prior structures into the captured photographic frames.

Hughes provides details regarding the demise of these previous structures, their historical or architectural significance, and the resulting struggles and effects surrounding the loss to the area.

This unexpected and innovative approach allows the reader to see the current built environment while simultaneously visualizing a glimpse of the past while learning a bit about the people and activities that took place long ago.

The author poignantly explains, “At one time I worked for a social action program whose offices were headquartered in one-half of a decidedly unglamorous motel. When the program ended, the motel was replaced by a handsome high-rise. Years later I regularly passed by this location and often thought about the motel and the colorful staff that were metaphorically ghosted inside the new building. This is how Apparitions began.” 

With its wide variety of locations and building types and unconventional photographical approach, Apparitions enables the viewer to observe the “new” while remembering and appreciating the “old.” It is a colorful and inventive way of reinforcing the old adage, “Gone…but not forgotten.”


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