Photographer Sue Benton Unveils the Inherent Appeal of Abandoned Buildings



Photographer Sue Benton finds beauty in the most unlikely places. The longtime Fairfield County resident developed a love for gritty industrial buildings while growing up in Pittsburgh, PA. Although others pass by these memorials to another time without a thought, Benton finds Connecticut’s forgotten places irresistible. “Often, the intrinsic beauty of graffiti covering an old, stately building goes unnoticed,” she explains. “I love these neglected buildings—people just don’t see them anymore. It makes me happy to make them beautiful.” Her haunting photographs pop in saturated primary colors. “I play with color, light and focus to make these images hyperrealistic and idealized,” she says. See her work on display at Axel Interiors in Norwalk and online at suebentonphotography.com

Chromium Process.76 by Sue BentonTitle: Chromium Process.76
Location: Corner of Canal and Center Streets, Shelton
Significance: The Chromium Process Co. moved its metal-finishing business to this building over the Housatonic Canal in 1929. Environmental concerns led to its closing in 1963. It is scheduled to be razed this year.         

22.1 by Sue BentonTitle: 22.1
Location: 325 Lafayette St., Bridgeport
Significance: This former Corset factory building dates to the late 1800s. Factory buildings lined the block at the end of the century. Today, some of them have been converted into apartments, such as the Lofts on Lafayette.     

Flower Bridge by Sue BentonTitle: Flower Bridge
Location: 375 Howard Ave., Bridgeport
Significance: This late-1800s factory was first the home of the Bridgeport Organ Company. In 1898, due to the popularity of the phonograph, it changed its tune and became the American Graphophone Company.  

OMP Ghost by Sue BentonTitle: OMP Ghost
Location: 375 Howard Ave., Bridgeport
Significance: Graffiti artwork and Christmas lights on the American Graphophone Company building, part of a complex of nine factories, add to the ever-changing urban landscape. 

A version of this article appeared in the October 2016 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Hidden in Plain Sight.

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