David Lynch’s Photographs of Old Factories

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David Lynch’s break out movie, Eraser­head, is the sort of movie that will seep into your uncon­scious and stay with you for days or weeks – like a par­tic­u­lar­ly unnerv­ing night­mare. Shot in inky black and white, the film achieves its uncan­ny pow­er in part because of its set­ting — a rot­ting indus­tri­al moon­scape bereft of nature. Much of the film’s sound­track is filled with the clank­ing of dis­tant machines and the hiss­ing of steam escap­ing pipes.

Lynch’s obses­sion with the rem­nants of the indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion have punc­tu­at­ed much of his work since — from the grimy, claus­tro­pho­bic Vic­to­ri­an streets in The Ele­phant Man to the open­ing titles of Twin Peaks to his 1990 avant-garde mul­ti­me­dia extrav­a­gan­za Indus­tri­al Sym­pho­ny No. 1.

“Well…if you said to me, ‘Okay, we’re either going down to Dis­ney­land or we’re going to see this aban­doned fac­to­ry,’ there would be no choice,” said Lynch once in an inter­view. “I’d be down there at the fac­to­ry. I don’t real­ly know why. It just seems like such a great place to set a sto­ry.”

Ear­li­er this year, Lynch exhib­it­ed at a Lon­don gallery a series of pho­tographs he shot of, yes, rot­ting fac­to­ries around New York, Eng­land and par­tic­u­lar­ly Poland. The sub­jects of the pho­tos are pret­ty mun­dane – a door, a win­dow, a wall – but he imbues them with this odd tone of fore­bod­ing and men­ace. In oth­er words, Lynch makes them seem Lynchi­an.

“It’s an incred­i­ble mood,” Lynch told Dazed Mag­a­zine. “I feel like I’m in a place that’s just mag­i­cal, where nature is reclaim­ing these derelict fac­to­ries. It’s very dreamy. Every place you turn, there’s some­thing so sen­sa­tion­al and sur­pris­ing – it’s the Bea­t­les’ Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Tour. All the cities are look­ing more and more the same. The real trea­sures are going away; the mood they cre­ate is going away.”

See more pho­tos below and, if you’re so inclined, you can buy the book to the exhib­it here.

A door in Lodz, Poland
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A win­dow and a real estate oppor­tu­ni­ty in Lodz

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A fac­to­ry. Lodz, Poland.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Mas­ter­ful Polaroid Pic­tures Tak­en by Film­mak­er Andrei Tarkovsky

David Lynch Presents the His­to­ry of Sur­re­al­ist Film (1987)

David Lynch Lists His Favorite Films & Direc­tors, Includ­ing Felli­ni, Wilder, Tati & Hitch­cock

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Jazz Pho­tog­ra­phy and The Film He Almost Made About Jazz Under Nazi Rule

Young Stan­ley Kubrick’s Noirish Pic­tures of Chica­go, 1949

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.


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