Letchworth Village was one once filled with compassion, progressive thinking and hope. Designed by William Wells Bosworth as the first inclusive community for society's undesirables, Letchworth was intended to foster the dignity that was believed to be an intrinsic human right.
Once praised for its efforts, some of which included founding the PKU test and aiding in the the discovery of the polio vaccine, stories of abuse at Letchworth were commonplace. The public outcry opposing the mental institution infrastructure was what eventually led to Letchworth's closing in 1997. Now the village is a series of dilapidated buildings beyond repair, riddled with stories of abuse and suffering, destroyed by bureaucracy and neglect, destined to become the next victim of suburban sprawl.
Contrary to the rich photographic history celebrating Letchworth during its heyday, photographed by Margaret Bourke-White and Arthur Genthe respectively, my concern is photographing the aura of this village that was once the pinnacle of social progress, now a monument to failure. As destruction looms over Letchworth, I travel with my view camera capturing images that express the mood and feeling of a village built with compassion but filled with a history of neglect, abuse, carelessness, disgrace, tragedy and decay.