America's real life apocalypse: the Rust Belt captured in photographs

Desolate city streets and eerily abandoned buildings have been a staple of cinema for years now, from 28 Days Later to I Am Legend to this year’s where-is-everyone blockbuster, Oblivion.

It seems popular imagination can’t get enough of the thrill of seeing an empty world (call it Oxford Street fatigue) – but what if those scenes were real?

A new photography collection by Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix takes viewers on a tour of America’s post-industrial Rust Belt that snakes north east from central New York to Wisconsin.

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Previously known as the industrial heartland of America, the Rust Belt is now a trail of decaying infrastructure; long-abandoned power plants, factories, steel mills and, more vividly, schools, theatres and hospitals that tell the story of bygone era.

Compiled for a new book, ‘States of Decay: Urban New York & America’s Forgotten North East’, the shots are at once a gritty work of historic documentation and oddly cinematic – proof that you don’t need a zombie apocalypse or Tom Cruise to imagine what the world would be like without us.