Architectural Afterlife is a website started in 2012 by Cleveland-based photojournalist Johnny Joo.


At the age of 16, Johnny began his journey into the world of the more forgotten, historically significant architectural pieces, which lay abandoned across our country. At the same time, he was introduced to the world of photography through black and white film, and from then on continued capturing the world around him, whether it was through nature or abandoned structures. He realized quickly that through a lens was how he could take his passion, and share it all with the world around him.

“Upon entrance through the tall, white, wooden swinging doors I was instantly brought to the realization that this was someone’s past; the history of lives we never even knew, but for some reason I found to be so interesting. People were here once, living and working and now they are gone while the collapsing ruins remain a place that is looked past by so many. We walked through the falling foundation, across tilted floors which had been shifted by the Earth, examining this space that had once been full of life. This moment felt so peaceful. From that day on, whenever I would see a decayed structure that had been left to fall, I would find a way to explore it. Shortly after in 2009 I had learned this was actually known as urban exploration and became hooked on learning the history of the places I would explore.” – Johnny Joo

Architectural Afterlife was brought to the Internet as a blog in 2012, documenting the history of decaying, forgotten places all across the United States. In 2016, the decision was made to open it up to the community, welcoming input from other artists/photographers and the link to share their visions, unique places and etc. essentially creating a main hub for all abandoned/unique/historic/forgotten places.

“This is something that will not be here forever, and I find an incredible importance in saving its story for future generations.” – Johnny Joo


 “We trade our imaginations in for days full of stress, and a mind full of white walls.

 We trade our drive to do something we love for a drive to fit in with the real world.

It’s sad.”

– Johnny Joo





17 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey there. I found your blog by searching for photos of the case observatory on Taylor Rd. My friend and I recently checked it out and after being inside we were hoping to find some original photos of the interior. But that led me here. I’m very impressed by your photography. As an urban explorer and amateur photographer, I’m stunned at how capable you are of capturing the full experience through your shots. I’m fully aware of how hard some of the lighting can be in old buildings and you’ve done very well. I noticed some of your shots look like they are in an abandoned mall. Which one is that? My friend and I went in Randall Park mall, probably around november of last year and were totally blown away. I had been meaning to go back with my camera and tripod but other things have come up. I’m not sure if you’ve been there but it’s certainly worth checking out. Let me know if you need any beta. Best of luck and excited to see where you end up next.


  2. I am thoroughly enjoying your vidros and slides! I live in Madison Ohio. Have you ever thought about the old closed and abandoned IRC Fibers AKA The Rayon in Painesville right on the lake? I worked there as a kid back in the ’60’s. Thanks a million!


  3. I was reading what you wrote in post “Abandoned Abbeys” (sic). In regards to St. Joseph Byzantine in Cleveland, you have no idea what you are talking about. For one, 40 years ago the church was still in use. I grew up in that parish and went to school there. The neighborhood got so bad after the blockbusting craze of the 1960s, the parish HAD TO move. The property was sold to the Zion Baptist Church and they abandoned it several years later. You wrote, “Why would you be so quick to let it fall?” How dare you? After enough people are robbed and beaten trying to go to church, they stop going there. Then there isn’t enough money for upkeep. Before you go spouting off like that about something of which you know nothing, young man, do some research and get your facts straight.


    1. Well, who said “why would you be so quick to let it fall” was in regards to St. Joseph when I have multiple other churches in the album as well? Yes, St. Joseph was in a horrible neighborhood, so of course people will move on, but it still doesn’t make sense to me as to why there is still a new church in use connected to the building. Anything I can find in Cleveland history reference says abandoned in the early 1970’s when they moved to Brecksville. If you have info showing otherwise, share it instead of making angry comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed the photographs from the article on Daily Mail today. Where was the photo taken with the caption that reads “a photographer juts out of hole to capture the perfect shot”? It’s the one that looks like a rotunda at the top. Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, a good place to take photos downtown is on the back deck of Cleveland Chop on St. Clair Ave. It’s got an urban ruins type feel and looks like there used to be an old amphitheater down below.


  5. I absolutely love your photos! I think there is much to be learned from the past. It makes you think about the who’s & why’s. There is magic and “life” in everything, one just needs to view it in a different perspective. You have a great natural eye and I hope you continue to go on photographing your surroundings.

    I started photography when I was 10. I am now 47 and have had “photographer’s block” for about a year or more……..Your photographs have inspired me to delve back in. Thank you 🙂


  6. Hey! Have followed your work closely for months on FB and other social media platforms. I myself lead a small crew of explorers based in the Midwest. (I’ll share pics privately, but most I don’t put online since we also visit active/semi-active buildings.) Have a question for you. Email me? Hope to talk soon. Best, V.


  7. I have stumbled across your blog in research for my photography project at school and I must say I 110% agree with absolutely everything you’ve spoken about here. I also love finding out the history of the places I visit. I myself am 16 years old and have only just started exploring abandoned places. So far I’ve been to a few abandoned hospitals dotted around Scotland (where I live), a theme park and a LOT of castles. I take much interest in the history of the castles particularly and sometimes there are random overgrown graves hidden away in some trees by the ruins of what once was most likely a beautiful home to a high class family. Reading the inscriptions can lead me to google searches of information. I absolutely love it and I find you a huge inspiration with your passion and photography. I definitely would love to continue exploring new areas and I will definitely continue to revisit your blog!


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! That is so amazing and I am so happy to know that my work could be such an inspiration and help in so many ways. I am so glad to see people approaching this genre of photography properly and respectfully, as too many do not. I also think those places you are talking about sound amazing! We don’t have many like that over here in the US so that would be something I would love to see some day! I would love to see any work you would like to share with me from things you have photographed or anything else! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I live in Pa and I know theirs a lot of History here from Civil War to Philly Pittsburg Harrisburg and ton of Sports and much more.. love to meet up w you Jonny Joo reach out to me…
    Any idea if they sold the gates at Mike Tyson’s house… love to buy or ask for the name on the gate…
    Thank you in advance


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