There is something both haunting and fascinating about abandoned places. Once-happening spots that are now desolate and eerie can be oddly peaceful. One photographer recently made it a point to capture such scenes, and visited abandoned schools, homes, theaters and more for a series entitled Autopsy of America.
One of the most interesting locations photographer Steph Lawless encounters is an old mall in the Chicago suburbs. Closed for nearly two years now, Lincoln Mall in Matteson, Ill. shut its doors in 2015. Broken down escalators, dying plants and garbage are all that currently inhabit the structure.
“It was surreal being inside of the abandoned mall,” Lawless told WGN. “I felt like I was the last person alive and the world had ended. It was frightening but also very peaceful.”
The captivating and creepy images are now going viral. Take a look at a few of them below.
Below is an elevator, overgrown with plant life. Lawless explained on Instagram that there had once been a tragic accident involving the elevator. A child was crushed and died at this very spot. Knowing this made his experience here even more disturbing.
Lawless noted, however, that he did enjoy this mall (as opposed to others he has shot) because it was free from graffiti and vandalism. In addition to photos, he took video footage while in the mall. You can watch a video of his mall exploration below.
Despite the sometimes strange subject material, it’s clear the Lawless loves his job. Also, he’s really good at it. His work has been featured on many major networks and he was even named one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in 2015.
The Illinois town is currently crafting a new development plan with hopes to one day reopen Lincoln Mall. For more info about Lawless and his work, check out his official website.