Come see Virginia’s ‘Beautifully Broken’ side

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

A free, public showcase by the Suffolk Art League will feature photographs of Virginia’s haunting locales and the fascinating stories behind them.

The league will present Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Speaker John Plashal and his new book “A Beautifully Broken Virginia” on Monday evening at Lake Prince Woods, 100 Anna Goode Way. Plashal’s 128-page coffee table book is filled with abandoned structures across Virginia, from churches and houses to schools and asylums.

“The talk is a PowerPoint of my photography, coupled by a really unique (and) emotionally powerful storytelling session,” Plashal said.

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This Richmond-based photographer and author has spent much of his time embedded in Virginia’s rural communities, according to the press release. His book features the beautiful, decaying structures that he uncovered in his travels, along with the stories he gathered about the people who lived in them.

His photography captures the structures and surrounding landscape with an eerie sense of abandon, including the hollowed remains of the Western State Hospital in Staunton.

“I like places that, when photographed in stormy weather or (under) dark clouds, tend to have a darker, more haunting theme. Fear is a pretty powerful emotion, so I like to get after creepy old houses, churches and asylums that make for really good photography and a really neat story,” he said.

The session will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and include time after the presentation for audience questions. For more information, visit or call 925-0448.