lamp post, rust, urban decline

Beacon of neglect

This post used to have white opaque panels on the top and beamed the message to the people that here was a place to shop. It had a clock on one face, if I recall correctly, which stood still for years. Now even that is gone. Only loose wires and rust remain to remind us of someone's faded commercial plans.


  1. Fascinating...how come it's all overgrown? Where is all the development it belonged too? It looks like it's in the middle of absolutely nowhere!

  2. A sign of the times? Have you heard about the plans to bulldoze parts of Flint in Michigan, in the hopes that nature will reclaim what people don't know how to fix anymore?

  3. Had to chuckle about Z's comment re Flint!!

    As for you: do you have a balance problem at the moment? You are very much on the diagonal ....

  4. Strange view. The kind of neglect which always makes me a bit uneasy.

  5. Great perspective! Also love the previous Sinca shot, a beauty!

  6. This is the melancholy time for all rusty things. People reflect on what was or what might have been. Almost like living archeology.

  7. Interesting slice of how nature reclaims urban spaces. Is Saarbrücken a shrinking city?

  8. Signum temporis..
    La vieillesse et la mort des objets sont infiniment tristes.

  9. Yep, when things are left alone, nature takes care of it. Good shot.

  10. Thanks for the all the comments. I think I painted a rather bleaker picture of the beacon's symbolism than in fact is the case.

    That is the chicken: The post has a location at the bottom of it. This is a link to a Google map page. If you click it and zoom in, you will see that the beacon is, in fact, in the middle of a housing estate ─ a rather green housing estate. They started development there in the 50's and 60's, I think, on a hill overlooking Saarbrücken. The original farm yard was turned into boules pitches and the big farm house was planned to become a collection of shops. The beacon is at a corner of the boules pitch area and is mainly there to advertise the presence of the shops. But the typical shops ─ bakers, grocers etc ─ never caught on and often the premises stood empty. Two years ago a physiotherapists took over most of the premises and refurbished them. They are doing a roaring trade from the nearby old people's home.

    So this beacon is less a symbol of terminal decline than of commercial plans that did not quite turn out and a housing estate that is green and pleasant to live in but which has definitely lost its orginal gloss.

    Z: I did read about Flint. Amazing, isn't it?

    Julie: I will take a spirit level with me next time a take a shot.

    joo: I know. This is not quite ancient, respectable Opale.

    JM: Obrigado.

    Abe Lincoln: Yes, and I like searching out these rusty things and photographing them.

    Buenos Aires Photoblog: Wikipedia, of course, can give you an answer to the population question. It has been declining slightly since 1992 and is expected to decline a further 1-3% by 2020. But many commute in from outside the Saarbrücken city boundaries and it will remain an important commercial and adminstrative centre. It is not the most dynamic city, but certainly not a dying one.

    Ada: Signum temporis.. ─ vraiment: c'était une horloge.

  11. Don and Krise: there is actually a flag pole around the corner from this beacon that is covered from top to bottom with ivy a foot deep.

    That is the chicken: I have also set up a page on Google App Engine that will show you all my photos at once in Google Maps - http://phonecam365.appspot.com/. You can do a virtual tour of the Saarland.

    There are still plenty of blank spots. Filling them with purple cameras is a personal challenge.

  12. Je viens de regarder tes photos sur Google Maps - un travail enorme!!! Je suis vraiment impressionnee! Et tout ca depuis le mois de novembre. Non, mais franchement quel travail..
    Est-ce que c'est difficile de "set up a page on Google App Engine" pour une dilettante comme moi? :) Je crois que c'est une excellente idee, je vais m'y prendre des que j'aurai un peu plus de temps, disons en septembre.

  13. Ada: Excuse me for answering in English but I think the answer might be of interest to others - blog readers and people who Google in. So the question is: can you easily set up a map of all your photos as I have on Google App Engine? The short answer is no. Setting up an App Engine account is probably not something you would want to do without programming expertise and even if I gave you my programming code, it is rather tied to the style of my blog.

    If I really thought there was world-wide demand for it, I would probably find a way to make my code more generally usable but you might find you have better alternatives, anyway. I guess you already know the basics of geotagging in Blogger. If not, here is an article that explains it. This works fine, except that it only displays your last 25 blog posts on the map. You can click on the location of any blogger post to get a map of just that post but you cannot get a map of all your posts.

    I have seen another approach used by DelBoy in East Melbourne Daily Photos. If you upload all your photos from your local computer for each post, Google actually puts them in a Picassweb Photo Gallery for you. You can go to the Gallery and add the locations to the photos there. Then you can put a link to your map on your blog - DelBoys map is here. There are advantages to this approach: it loads very fast and you get nice thumbnails for each photo on the map. The disadvantage for me is that I would want to keep the public gallery clean - currently, I have deleted photos and photos scheduled to appear in the coming week there. If I find a way to keep this gallery tidy, I will probably move to DelBoy's method.

    In any event, I might point out that you are one of the very few people to have visited my map page. People are obviously not as map-obsessed as I am. You might bear that in mind before investing a lot of time in adding maps and locations to your photos.

  14. Merci infiniment pour tes explications! J'espere bien, je suis meme sure qu'elles serviront aussi bien aux autres. C'est vrai que moi aussi je suis 'map-obsessed' et je crois que c'est vraiment utile de connaitre l'emplacement d'un item dans la region, la ville.

    Dans l'avenir j'essaierai la methode avec Picasa (j'ai deja commence de creer des albums). Je n'ai pas compris seulement quel est cet disconvenient dont tu parles: "The disadvantage for me... etc." Tu ne veux pas d'avoir des photos dans la gallerie publique (et c'est la condition sine qua non de cette approche), c'est bien ca?

    Je crois aussi (mais c'est seulement mon opinion) que tu pourrais eventuellement mettre tes 'map pages' plus en relief - ecrire quelques mots pour attirer les gens, dans un endroit visible de ta page principale. Pour qu'il soit visible que chaque photo est 'geolocated' sur le plan. Ou ecrire une entree consacree juste a ce sujet - et donner ces explications que tu as mises ci-dessus. C'est vraiment utile et ca ne se trouve pas souvent dans des blogs.
    Merci encore :)

  15. Ada: Je n'ai pas compris seulement quel est cet disconvenient dont tu parles: "The disadvantage for me... etc."

    The disadvantage I mentioned is that the whole of the Picasa album becomes public. Currently mine has photos that I decided not to post, which I could delete, and photos that I have scheduled to post in the coming week, which I obviously cannot delete, but I do not want them public, either.

    A further disadvantage is that the Blogger posts do not automatically come with a location underneath them. In my blog, almost all posts have this, so that you can immediately see with one click where the photo was taken. Using Picasa web for location tagging, you would have to find the photo in the Picasa album first.

    One location per post is probably not appropriate for blogs like yours, anyway, Ada. You often have several photos in different locations in one post. However, Google is very good at allowing progams to query and manipulate data in their services and, once you have tagged the photo in Picasa Web, a program could add a map link to each photo in your Blogger post.

  16. Merci, maintenant j'ai bien compris. Quel travail tout cela - plus tu m'expliques, plus je suis impressionnee par le boulot que tu as fait.

    Je vais encore y penser, qui sait, peut etre trouverai-je la bonne solution. Merci encore :)