The Dismal Fortunes of Old Bank Buildings
“The People’s Trust” is a series of photographs that document financial institutions across America, from the remains of grand, re-purposed 20th and 19th century structures to modernist glass structures to the financial institutions of today.
In the words of the artist Michael Vahrenwald:
I am drawn to former bank buildings because of what they tell about our culture, past and of the present— a lot of it is simply being struck by a time when money was more local, banks spread out & anchoring individual communities, thousands of solid stone structures in the place of a handful of glass skyscrapers downtowns across the globe. As I began photographing I couldn’t help but register the headstrong optimism in these buildings, the grandiose way in which they were fortresses built to last— all that in contradistinction to what they’re used for now. It fascinates me, that in their current state, these structures still project so much of their former authority. The project’s not about what I like or don’t like, but about the how odd these building are today in a world where the aesthetics (as well as the simple facts) of power, wealth, & class have all fundamentally changed.
Images and text via