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Lasting impressions

The images in this gallery quietly demand that the body not be denied

In an era of technological hyperdrive and virtual communities, it’s all too easy to take human presence for granted. But as Norman Foster put it, architecture is at its core a social art; it’s about “the beauty of a space and the poetry of the light that models it.” The images in this gallery quietly demand that the body not be denied: Here, years of wear and tear have left their calling card — in the negative spaces created by treads on the stairs of a medieval château, weathered seats at a beloved ballpark, or the swath of a London park’s desire line.

Worn staircase in the Château de Gratot, Normandy, France. Photo: Steve Kersley. 

John Harvard’s toe, polished to a shine by passersby seeking good luck. Photo: Curt Milton.

A set of well-used pencils. Photo: Liz Saunders.

Piano at Young’s Chapel in Ben Hill County, Georgia. Photo: Scott Farrar.

Desire path created by pedestrians leading to the Brandon Estate, in
London’s Kennington Park. Photo: Stefan Szczelkun.

Fenway Park’s well-seasoned seats. Photo: © dana lynne photography.

The wallet-worn back pocket of a favorite pair of Levi’s. Photo: Erica Zabowski.