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Unreal Estate

Unreal Estate: The Eastern Shore


"The structures I photograph are forsaken, deserted," writes Robert de Gast. "No further energies are to be expended on them, not even the energy to tear them down. Often a wreck of a building squats in the middle of a field, forcing a farmer to make tortured and elaborate turns when plowing his field. It would be so much easier to burn the house or barn - in a few minutes the land would be cleared. But it isn't so simple."In Unreal Estate, the photographs of Robert de Gast reveal what "isn't so simple" about the abandoned buildings so common on the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore. His striking color photographs of ghostly houses and weathered details illustrate the powerful hold architecture has on us, even when a building no longer serves its purpose. Like more ancient ruins, the abandoned structures of the Shore tell stories of decline and departure. Some appear proud and sturdy, even beautiful, seen across a wide marsh or meadow. Others are tortured abstractions - one Cobb Island house twists almost comically to one side, a single timber postponing its collapse.In his introduction, de Gast tells of structures abandoned as a result of both shrinking population and difficult circumstances. The Depression of the 1930s began the decline. During World War II many residents left for Norfolk, Baltimore, and other cities to find work. Postwar mechanization led to larger farms - and the need for fewer laborers. Today the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton are among the poorest in Virginia.But de Gast finds a different kind of wealth in the region. He is drawn to places named Mutton Hunk and Frogstool, Clam and Oyster, Chincoteague and Kiptopeke. His photographs are not of people, but they are full of human feeling. They evoke mystery and romance, compassion and nostalgia. Here are houses where children shouted and played, and shops where old friends gossiped. Here people lived and dreamed - and left behind familiar shapes that time and nature now alter and reclaim.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780801844126
  • ISBN: 0801844126
  • Publication Year: 1993
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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