Haunting Abandoned Petrol Stations

Tuesday October 01, 2019 Written by Amy

There’s a melancholy poetry to disused petrol stations – the rust and graffiti, boarded-up windows, weeds reclaiming the cement. An end-of-the-world vibe. 

Parisian photographer Eric Tabuchi has captured this feeling in his book Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations, which is a nod to influential Los Angeles pop artist Edward Ruscha.

In 1963 Ruscha published an iconic artist’s book, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, featuring (surprise!) 26 gas stations he’d photographed on his drive between California and his parent’s home in Oklahoma.

At the time, Ruscha’s flat, matter-of-fact images of mundane subjects like gas stations were shocking. During an interview in 1973, Ruscha said, “I realised that for the first time this book had an inexplicable thing I was looking for, and that was a kind of a ‘Huh?’… All it is is a device to disarm somebody.”

Tabuchi’s photos share this stark banality – as well as the sense that something terrible has happened. You know, like an alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse. Or just catastrophic climate change. Thanks, Shell and BP.

Images: Eric Tabuchi