Wedding Photography Collides With ‘Ruin Porn’


Clane Gessel, a San Francisco Bay Area photographer, said despite the venue’s $250- an-hour cost, at the time of his shoot there in October 2017, it looked “like a construction dump, like you should be wearing a hard hat.”

For Mr. Gessel and his clients, it was partly about the contrast between their outfits and the building’s condition. “Her dress is a custom-made Galia Lahav dress,” Mr. Gessel said, “which is also $30,000. And they wanted to take these clothes and shoot them among the ruins. And that was their thing, because they wanted that juxtaposition to show that even though they’re wearing these clothes they value the ruins that much.” More important, he said, the site choice honored the bride’s deceased father who once worked in the former train station.

Ruins offer the ethereal. Mr. Gessel described a favorite image of “the couple kind of silhouetted in front of a window. And all of that, the only reason you got the light ray is just because of the dust that was in there.”

Sodo Park, a once abandoned warehouse in Seattle and now an events space, has also become a favorite for Instagram-able photo shoots. “It’s the new trend where a lot of people are doing this because they want to get maybe a bit more different,” Mr. Gessel said. “I think that itself has taken on a vastly different meaning especially in light of social media.”

Dasha Sverdlova, 28, an asset manager for a real estate investment firm, and Taylor Mills, 30, a project manager for a tech company, chose to marry and have their reception in April 2017 on New York’s Governors Island. The couple, who live in Jersey City, N.J., use the surname Milova.

“We had been looking for abandoned churches and abandoned warehouses to get married, but unfortunately, most of the time they are not accessible, and definitely not accessible to our older grandparents,” Taylor Milova said. “So, we liked the fact that we had access to Governors Island with the full go-ahead to explore the island, go into all of these buildings, and kind of make the island our own.”



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