Tainted Lens

Photographer Timothy Hursley shoots the lurid back room scenes of America

Andy Warhol in the last Factory in the late 1980s. (Timothy Hursley)

This pictorial appears in the October/November print edition of The Architect’s Newspaper.

Timothy Hursley has photographed the lofty heights of 20th-century American architecture: Frank Gehry, I. M. Pei, and Philip Johnson all commissioned him to document their designs. But Hursley has also trained his lens on the country’s colorful, lurid, and sometimes tragic underbelly, shooting the basements and back rooms where people struggle to survive, create art, and meet their makers.

The photos below, from the artist’s Tainted Lens collection, show a food storage cave for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints polygamous sect; a brothel in Tonopah, Nevada; and coffins in a funeral home in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Above, Andy Warhol stands in the last Factory in the late 1980s.

Food storage cave

Inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Timothy Hursley)

Fence of a brothel with pink and white walls

Looking into a brothel in Nevada (Timothy Hursley)

Coffins displayed inside funeral home lit by florescent lights

Coffins displayed inside funeral home lit by florescent lights (Timothy Hursley)

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