The Enigmatic Allure of Abandoned and Discarded Photos

In a world where digital photography reigns supreme, stumbling upon an abandoned or discarded physical photograph can evoke a sense of wonder, curiosity, and nostalgia. These forgotten memories, once captured to immortalize a moment in time, now lie dormant in the corners of our ever-changing world, waiting to be rediscovered.

A Portal to the Past

Finding an abandoned or discarded photo is like unearthing a hidden treasure, a portal to the past that transports us to a different time and place. Whether it’s a family portrait, a candid snapshot of friends, or a serene landscape, each photograph carries with it a unique story, a fleeting glimpse into someone else’s life.

These images, often worn and faded, have managed to survive the test of time. They have likely passed through numerous hands and have been subjected to the elements, yet their power to captivate remains undiminished.

The Emotional Connection

The allure of abandoned photographs lies not only in their aesthetic qualities but also in the emotional connections they can forge. As we hold these tangible memories in our hands, we can’t help but wonder about the people and events depicted within the frame.

Who were these individuals? What emotions were they experiencing at the time the photograph was taken? What circumstances led to the abandonment or discarding of such a personal artifact?

These questions fuel our imagination, encouraging us to piece together a narrative based on the visual clues provided. In doing so, we develop a sense of empathy and connection with the subjects, even though we may never know the true story behind the image.

The Art of Discovery

For some, the act of finding abandoned or discarded photos has become an art form unto itself. Urban explorers, antique collectors, and thrift store enthusiasts alike relish the thrill of unearthing these photographic relics, each hoping to uncover a unique and captivating story.

As these images are collected and shared, they can inspire creativity in various forms. Artists may use them as a basis for new works, writers might craft narratives around the images, and historians could find value in the contextual details these photographs provide.

Social media platforms have also played a role in preserving and sharing abandoned photos. Online communities dedicated to showcasing these finds enable people from around the world to connect over their shared appreciation for these enigmatic images, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collective wonder.

The Ethical Considerations

While the fascination with abandoned and discarded photos is understandable, it’s essential to approach the act of collecting them with a sense of respect and responsibility. After all, these photographs once held deep personal significance to someone, and care should be taken not to exploit or sensationalize their contents.

When sharing such images, consider obscuring the faces of those depicted or refraining from sharing any identifiable information. This practice ensures that the privacy and dignity of the subjects are maintained while still allowing others to appreciate the emotional resonance and historical significance of the photographs.


Which leads us to Mike. What’s the story behind this one?

That’s a wad of electrical tape behind the frame, presumably to attach to something. The story behind that makes me as curious as the possible story behind the photo (and its abandonment) itself.

So I take to reddit’s found photography subreddit for likeminded discussion.

“This reminds me of something someone with dementia might do with one of their possessions.”


“Could it not be an attempt to preserve the frame material or something?

or maybe it was meant to match the silver outline of the letters.

Edit: I also agree that it is like something a person with dementia may do.”


“Kinda creepy but also cool? Looks like you’ve got something fun to do, ngl”




“That’s a creative way to keep your memories safe from interdimensional beings!”


“Looks like Harry Maguire”


“remember that creepy barber dude from Courage the Cowardly Dog? they kinda have the same smile. it’s freaking me out a little.”


A Testament to the Power of Photography

Ultimately, the enduring appeal of abandoned and discarded photos serves as a testament to the power of photography. These images, once cherished and now forgotten, continue to evoke emotions and spark curiosity, transcending the passage of time and the ever-changing landscape of our world.

So, the next time you come across an abandoned photograph, take a moment to appreciate the hidden story within its frame. You never know what kind of journey it might take you on.





I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), probably best known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective I’m collecting all of that and more on dabodab, where I write about and document my life as a graphic arts professional, songwriter, experimental recording artist, publisher, local and personal historian, grassroots business supporter, silver creative, podcaster, vlogger and zinester. read more.