NYC photographer Michael Vahrenwald’s series The People’s Trust looks at old bank buildings long after they’ve stopped trading in currency. There’s the Bronx’s North Side Savings Bank, now housing an auto parts store, The Provident Loan Society of New York, now a pawn shop, the Cicero Trust and Savings Bank, in Cicero, Illinois, now a liquor store, and et cetera.
Why banks? “I am drawn to former bank buildings because of what they tell about our culture, past and of the present— a lot of it is simply being struck by a time when money was more local, banks spread out & anchoring individual communities, thousands of solid stone structures in the place of a handful of glass skyscrapers downtowns across the globe,” he says in his artist’s statement.
“As I began photographing I couldn’t help but register the headstrong optimism in these buildings, the grandiose way in which they were fortresses built to last— all that in contradistinction to what they’re used for now.”
See some highlights above.
(Photos: Michael Vahrenwald)