“Crumbling between the fingers, under the feet, / Crumbling behind the eyes, / Their world gives way and dies / And something twangs and breaks at the end of the street.”
–Louis MacNeice

The concrete stairs, leaning and decaying, lead up to a locked second floor wooden door.  When dark, the single light above barely casts enough light to see to the end of the buckled landing.  Rust eats away at the bent, rickety old hand rail and the paint on the long ago whitewashed wall peels and cracks.  The steel of the cement support post is exposed – twisted and broken.  And the large slanted metal framed windows that follow the rise of the stairs are cracked and covered with years of city grime.

The Crumbling Concrete Stairs

The Crumbling Concrete Stairs

Sounds like an old abandoned warehouse in a forgotten city industrial area, right?  Well, it isn’t.  This particular building is actually on Downer Avenue in the East Side neighborhood of Milwaukee – and has several active tenants on the ground level!   The second floor is empty, the stairs are crumbling and the paint peeling but, in reality, it is not as bad as it looks in this image.

This is day 162 of my 365 photo a day project.

I did quite a lot in Photoshop, On1 Perfect Effects 10, Topaz Clarity and Topaz Impression, to create the dark, decrepit mood.  Below is the original shot, cropped in Lightroom, before processing in Photoshop.

Crumbling Concrete Stairs - Original

Crumbling Concrete Stairs – Original