“At the beginning of 2001, I began taking pictures of recently abandoned offices, and the things people had left behind,” Phillip Toledano explains in his artist’s statement for Bankrupt, a series we were tipped off to by iGNANT. “This project was more than photography for me. It was economic archeology.” Economic archeology, or forecasting? You have to admit that the images captured by this former advertising art director (whose work we’ve previously featured here, here, and here) feel even more relevant over a decade later, in a world where most of us are still grappling with the effects of the Great Recession.
The experience Mr. Toledano had while shooting these photos might sound familiar to some of you as well. “There was something very strange about walking into a recently abandoned office,” he says. “The heavy, Pompeii-like stillness, punctuated by the occasional sound of the air-conditioning, turning itself on. A coat-hanger waiting patiently for a coat. A limp happy-birthday balloon on the floor. A drawer stuffed with take-out menus. Everywhere, there were signs of life, interrupted.”
Click through to check out his work, and let us know what you think of the series in the comments.