Comments Section: "Ruin Porn" and Ballpark Dreams 

Last week's feature on photographer Jamie Betts and his efforts to document the decay in abandoned property drew a variety of responses online. Here are some excerpts:

I followed Jamie on Instagram for some time, along with @tonydetroit and a few other ""ruin porn" photographers, and finally came to wonder if all the photos of cities in ruins weren't further destroying our cities. Yes, they have a harsh beauty, but as a native Detroiter, it does deeply disturb me that these photographers — and there are hundreds of them — descend on the city like vultures on a corpse. They swoop in, stay a day or two, opt to take photos of what is indeed undescribable decay and neglect, but fail to capture the vitality of a city pulling itself from those ruins. Rarely do those photographers show the full story. — Posted by American Coney Camp, Jan. 15, 9:42 a.m.

What amazing photos. Thanks for sharing. — Posted by Mary India M. Fleshman, Jan. 14, 6:20 p.m.

I can't vouch for all the other photographers who shoot "ruin porn" (aka some gorgeous photography), but I can vouch for Jamie personally. He has graciously donated his time and talent to shoot for me for the Civil War Trust's quarterly magazine Hallowed Ground for the past two years. His haunting images of Civil War battlefield land are helping us preserve that land. It shows how important it is to save this historic land before it's developed — most of which is in Virginia, as you all know. Jamie's work is spectacular and the way he captures his imagery is so interesting. Re: Detroit? The city needs more than a Richmond photographer to save it. — Posted by JR, Jan. 15, 11:48 a.m.

And on Edwin Slipek's architecture commentary about building a stadium in Shockoe Bottom:

Having lived in Durham (not just visited), I can assure you the stadium helped to boost a downtown area that was about empty and unvisited. Now the area is walkable, vibrant and brings in a lot of good business. And it was done without destroying the old downtown area. It's an area that's been revitalized, not rebuilt. Richmond has lots of history — some great and some not. While we should certainly not ignore or forget our history, if we never move past it, we will never progress. — Posted by cpjRVA, Jan. 15, 1:05 p.m.

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