These Photographs of a Decaying Mall Are Haunting

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Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

When you picture a shopping mall, a bustling place full of life must come to mind. Shopping malls are full of stores for many to frequent, food courts full of hungry customers looking for an energy boost, and bored teenagers hanging out after school and on the weekends.

Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case for The Lincoln Mall in Illinois. Seph Lawless was able to capture the lost memories and emptiness behind the walls of the abandoned quarter million square foot space. We all have memories that come to mind when someone mentions a shopping mall. It’s a staple location in our lives and some people enjoy visiting so much, they become second homes. Malls are a huge part of both our society and our personal lives as well! But just like other businesses, malls do not always thrive.

Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

It can be extremely difficult to maintain a thriving and successful mall. A lot of different factors come into play when it comes to maintaining a successful business. You have to make sure you have enough income coming in to pay all of the bills it takes to keep a mall open and operating. You also have to pay all of the workers that maintain a nice and clean place for people to visit. Location, store availability, and overall appeal all factor into whether or not the mall will have enough visitors to keep it open.

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Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

Unfortunately, none of these were an issue for The Lincoln Mall in Illinois. After being sued by city representatives for several building code violations, the mall was ordered to close down in January 2015. The mall had been open since 1973. The building had plenty of renovations in order to improve the quality and maintain a large visiting population.

Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

It seems throughout those renovations, unfortunately, someone violated the codes causing the building to tragically get shut down. The mall was about to undergo a theater renovation that would cost about $115 million dollars! The new renovation would have no doubt brought in an entirely new diverse group of people. Unfortunately, however, the theater never got the chance to be built.

Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

When a mall like this closes down, a lot is lost. Anyone who enjoyed going to the mall all the time has to find a new place to frequent. For some people, this was the closest mall for them to go in order to buy gifts for family members, friends, and just themselves in general. It was an escape for young people looking for a place outside of their homes and to socialize with other bored individuals.

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Seph Lawless

Most importantly, however, it provided countless jobs, tax money that went back into the economy, and a source for small businesses to make money as well. These photographs are haunting. Not only is it chilling to look at pictures of abandoned places, but the way that Seph Lawless is able to capture the tragedy of abandonment makes the images stick in your brain all the longer.

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Seph Lawless

What was once a bustling and busy atmosphere has become a location for memories — and plants — to die. Hopefully, we can learn something from these abandoned photographs and figure out how to keep large businesses like these open longer in the future. If you enjoy these photographs, you can check out more of Seph Lawless’s work on his Instagram, order his book, or check out his website.

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