Rarely have we seen a clearer or more graceful depiction of the American dream in tatters than Douglas R. Smith’s photos of surrendered homes in California’s Central Valley. In his pictures, the interiors of these foreclosed houses become heartbreaking portraits of their former inhabitants — a poster of a Mexican wrestler and the box for an “AK-47,” a mural of an old mill surrounded by trees resplendent with fall foliage, a pair of religious candles atop a grimy shelf. Saddest are the many images of children’s rooms (shiny pink stickers against a lavender wall) and belongings (a box of sports trophies, a floor covered in stuffed animals). It’s impossible to look at these photos without wondering what happened to the people who lived in these homes. Click through for a gallery of Scenes from Surrendered Homes, and then visit Smith’s website to see the entire series.
Trophies, Cross © 2010 Douglas R. Smith [via How to Be a Retronaut]