Growing up, the mall was the place to be. You would go to hang out with your friends almost every weekend. It was always busy with hundreds of people, music and smells of candy and delicious foods. The mall encompasses everything that is America. The giant structure, the competition between shops, the grandeur of the food court with carousels and music. A mall is much more than a group of stores in the same building. There are performances and fashion shows all under one giant roof. Santa and the Easter Bunny visit the malls of America for a few weeks out of the year. It almost sounds like a modern-day circus when you think about it. Popularity of malls across America have been on a steady decline though and seem to be disappearing. This probably has a lot to do with the ease of internet shopping as well as the option of comparing prices online. Photographer Seph Lawless wanted to capture the decline of America’s economy and visited two abandoned malls in Ohio. The photographs Lawless took are haunting and desolate. They create an eerie feeling that chills to the bone even though it’s just an abandoned structure.
Lawless used to enjoy cotton candy growing up under those escalators above.
What used to be a fountain set as the centerpiece to this beautiful mall stands dead and stagnant.
The trees have overgrown and died leaving old remains behind.
The entrances have dilapidated and been vandalized looking like a modern ghost town.
There just simply isn’t enough money and it’s not worth it to repair and rejuvenate these once majestic structures.
Other than a handful of vandals, these malls have not seen a person in years.
Although lifeless, they hold character and make for amazing pictures.
It’s almost as if these malls just ceased to exist overnight.
It amazes me that a building this big can be completely forgotten and abandoned. It seems like it would have many purposeful uses.
It’s sad to know that these buildings will be demolished any day for safety reasons.
“There’s nothing more profound and sobering then being inside an abandoned mall.”
Will malls across America ever be popular again? It seems that outdoor shopping centers and online retailers will eventually be more economically feasible.
This used to be a beautiful place bursting with activity every day.
It now sits being vandalized and slowly reclaimed by nature.
With no one to upkeep the properties, nature slowly started to reclaim the building.
Experts say that 15% of America’s malls will fall victim to abandonment within the next 10 years.
These malls were abandoned in 2008 and 2009. It’s amazing how fast they can become dilapidated and unsafe.
You can tell this used to be a fun place to be. Now it is just sad and lonely.
This is in Ohio. How many abandoned malls are across the country right now?
The two malls are set to be demolished any day but luckily Lawless captured the desolation of this place before it is gone forever.
This is not the America I remember growing up.
The old movie theater is now a ghost town. I hope they can salvage some of these materials for other buildings.
What used to be a lone tree in a planter has been standing dead for years.
It looks like a natural disaster came through and wiped this place out with no explanation.
The once up kept entrance to this mall is now overgrown and slowly falling apart.
It used to be an amazing building for people to come together.
Now it is a place of loneliness and desolation.
Look at all the cool lights that could have been reused.
Parts of the floor have been flooded due to non-maintained roofs and drainage.
Imagine this beautiful place alive with sounds, smells, and people everywhere.
More stores, left to the elements, in hopes of being rejuvenated one day.
An old fountain where kids used to throw pennies in hopes of their wishes coming true.
You can see there is still water in this fountain. I can’t imagine the smell that is coming from it.
Once full of so much life, now empty with nobody to wander through.
The gray skies behind the mall are the perfect backdrop for its untimely demise.
You can almost envision people running in and out of these doors during the busy shopping seasons.
The phone dangling makes you feel like this place was just closed down in the middle of a busy day due to some unfortunate event leaving it desolate and forgotten.
Seph Lawless has captured the declining American economy in these malls. Once booming with life and color, they sit desolate and abandoned as nature slowly takes over. “There’s nothing more profound and sobering then being inside an abandoned mall,” said Lawless. “It’s a powerful symbol of America’s economic decline. I used to visit these malls often growing up. I remember eating cotton candy underneath the escalator and the sounds of people laughing and feet shuffling as the gentle sounds of falling water from one of the many fountains surrounded me. This was America.”