“Ruin” by Brian Vanden Brink won the Critics Choice Award for best book produced in New England in 2009 at the New England Art Awards, created and hosted by the New England Journal of Aesthetic Research at The Burren pub.

A number of Maine artists were among the winners, as well as some of Maine’s most prominent creative organizations including the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, the Portland Museum of Art, and Down East, which published “Ruin.” Awards were chosen in two ways: either by a group of 18 art journalists and bloggers from New England; or through a people’s choice online voting ballot, where more than 1,800 people cast their votes.

In “Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America,” Vanden Brink captures images of homes, churches, mills, bridges, grain elevators, storefronts, the 300-foot-tall chimney of a lead smelter, the pitch-black depths of an Air Force plutonium storage vault and more. Through Vanden Brink’s lens, these structures become iconic, representing an America that was built and then abandoned. With an introduction by historic preservation and architecture expert Howard Mansfield, this collection of photos grants permanence to places that may soon vanish forever.

“There have been some great books put out this year in New England, and I am honored that a group of such diverse and in-touch critics would recognize ‘Ruin’ this way,” said Vanden Brink about the award.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.