Americana Forgotten: Photographer documents the abandoned American Dream

When you hear the word “Americana”, what kind of scenery does your imagination draw up? For many, it’s typical imagery of the once-revered American Dream – you know, shiny cars, white picket fences, smoke-filled diners and ice cream parlours blaring Chuck Berry from the jukebox speakers. Fast-forward some decades of technological advancements later, and America seems to have largely tossed much of that dream aside, along with any notion that these would somehow, some day hold importance to many.

In his captivating series Americana Forgotten, Cleveland-based photographer Johnny Joo has spent the past 10 years documenting much of these discarded relics. Visiting forgotten and abandoned places all across the United States, his work may provide nostalgia to many, having lived through that time, and wistfulness to others, wishing to have been born in that era. But to some – both young and old – these artefacts are nothing more than a heap of rusting junk; a “worn out and boring” history.

Speaking of his work, Johnny said: "I think it's important that we not only look at the world around us, but that we truly see it. Too many will open a book just to flip through, not only literally but figuratively. We need to take some time to stop and read before it's all gone – our history disappearing right before our eyes."

If you love these eery photographs, you can follow the latest contributions to Americana Forgotten via Johnny's blog at Or support his Kickstarter campaign to transform the series into a book.

Via Creative Boom submission | All images courtesy of Johnny Joo


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