Haunted houses are more than just scenes for scary stories — some people believe they're really haunted.
And one photographer thinks they're beautiful.
Seph Lawless is a pseudonymous artist and photographer whose work has captured some of the most haunting, abandoned, and truly captivating places in the United States.
His recent photo project and book, appropriately entitled "Hauntingly Beautiful," features the interior and exteriors of 13 abandoned homes — some backed with urban legends and haunting stories fit for their spooky nature.
"Several factors really went into picking the 13 abandoned houses that would make up the book. First, I picked beautiful homes that were designed decades and even centuries ago," Lawless tells A Plus in an email. "Secondly, some had a history of real life horrific tragedies that happen in the home or near the site of the now abandoned home which added even more of a mystery to them."
Naturally, Lawless says that his visits to the sites were often a bit "creepy." He noticed remnants of a life once lived, including family photos and frames, all of which he says makes for an intimate, emotional experience.
But aside from the homes' haunting nature, it's their beauty that's perhaps most fascinating. Lawless himself finds the construction and craftsmanship of the homes to be beautiful.
"In my opinion, it's really an example of large installation public art. Outside of some of the older abandoned gothic style Churches I've photographed, there's really nothing more beautiful than these homes by design," Lawless tells A Plus.
Moreover, Lawless believes that these older homes were designed in an era of fresh, inspiring architecture — as opposed to the houses of today.
"Modern architecture comes across cold and uninspiring," he says. "I suppose I was trying to capture that beauty in the darkest way imaginable because it seemed fitting. [It's] The decline of a dying art form known as architecture."
The photo series features multiple, fascinating images — all with their own unique features. In one, a brick house with boarded windows sits in between a burnt out lamppost and a dark grey sky.
In another overgrown trees and bushes surround an otherwise grim, hollow house.
Inside, wallpaper peels away from the walls, staircases wither away, a dated dress hangs against a dirty door, and beams of light from open windows illuminate darkness stuck in a bare hallway.
But all the homes, and all the photos, are beautiful:
Lawless tells A Plus that his next project will "focus on a once thriving American town [that is] now eerily sitting completely abandoned and in ruins" after residents were forced to evacuate. "It's now a ghost town with a haunting past that offers us a diagnostic of some of the country's true ills. The same thing that built the city would eventually destroy it."