The beauty of rust and age

Oxidation adds great color, texture to fine-art photography

Beauty is subjective. When it comes to fine-art photography, some people like shiny and new. Others don’t mind a little age. And then there are those of us who like old, rusty and broken-down. I just don’t think you can go wrong with a little rust.

Fine-art classic truck photography

This old 1950 Chevy truck is rusting away just off a street in Gonzales, La.

An old 1950 Chevy sitting rusting away on the side of the road in Gonzales, La., is a great example of how decay can increase the appeal of an image. It remains one of my most-popular images in my fine-art photography gallery.

Old warehouses can be a great source of decay and rust. I found one such location in Amite City, La., and it provided some really beautiful HDR photography. Old machinery; a large tank; and the bricks, collapsed ceiling and dirt-strewn floors were perfect subjects to show the age of the building and produce beautiful industrial photography.

But sometimes getting up close is the best way to highlight the age and texture of rust. There is an old Baldwin Locomotives train engine at the Gramercy Rural Museum. It’s covered with rust, but the background makes it difficult to capture an appealing image of the entire train. The solution was to get in close and frame different elements of the train, like the Baldin Locomotives medallion and the wheel assembly.

Old row houses architectural photography

These old row houses in Donaldsonville, La., are badly in need of painting, but they are still used.

Cracked paint on houses also can increase texture in photographs. Another of my popular images depicts several old row houses in Donaldsonville, La. The architectural details of the homes are inherently interesting, but the peeling paint highlights the age and neglect of the buildings and makes the images much more exciting.

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About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.