Randall Park Mall was once the world’s largest shopping mall now lies in absolute ruins and according to Seph Lawless’ photographs leaving nothing behind but broken glass and shattered memories. The real name of the mall is referred to by locals as North Randall park mall and is located in North Randall, Ohio.
In 1976, it opened as the world’s largest shopping mall and employed over 3,000 people. The mall was such an intricate part of the city that even to this day the city’s municipal seal is represented with two shopping bags on the city seal. The mall closed in 2009 and since has fallen in a state of decay that can be seen in Seph Lawless’ photographs
There’s an eerie allure to Lawless’ images that often begs the question —who came here and why were those lives interrupted.
Lawless remembers shopping here as a child with his parents and even later in his teens hanging out at the mall.
Walking around the mall completely abandoned years later was a real sobering thing for me to witness. I knew my images would be telling a story. A real American horror story that would really impact people.
Seph Lawless was first to photograph the abandoned mall in 2009 then several times over the years. CNN even came into Cleveland to interview Lawless after his images of the mall went viral in 2014.
Several photographers after him came into Cleveland trying to duplicate what he had done, but fell short according to reporter Tim Reardon:
All the other photographers that tried doing what Lawless did failed, because of one simple fact. Their work lacked intimacy and emotion. That’s because the other people never had personal experiences about that mall or some local photographers were so young they never even been to the mall when it was opened. They simply were just doing it because they saw Lawless all over the news and wanted to be like him, which caused legal problems for Lawless. He became a legal scapegoat.
Seph lawless is credited for the rise of popularity amongst a generation of young people calling themselves urban explorers, which usually consists of trespassing into abandoned structures and photographing them. The sudden rise in this hobby had its legal consequences for him and was arrested for trespassing into Randall Park Mall in 2014.
After Seph Lawless appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show Lawless was contacted by his lawyer and instructed that he had to turn himself into authorities on felony charges. The city was going after Lawless, because of the amount of kids that were trying to be like him and sneaking unto the mall. It was a huge problem for the city.
Seph Lawless’ lawyer, Larry Zuckerman, is known as one of the most ruthless defensive lawyers in the U.S. Over the years, Zuckerman has been by the side of Lawless during an array of legal woes of the controversial artist and activist, who often finds himself being sued for something.
Lawless and his legal team has been successful at not only protecting himself and his work, but also suing people that aim to hurt Seph Lawless.
People don’t realize that Seph Lawless is a brand and a business. When you try to attack or hurt that brand there are consequences and you may end up paying both monetarily and punitively for damages, Says Zuckerman.
Recently, a man named Matthew Christopher was sued in court on libel charges after he lied about Seph Lawless several times on Facebook posts. The man who calls himself Abandoned America now faces series of charges.
Seph Lawless is currently suing the man for defamation after he falsely accused Seph Lawless of charity fraud.
Seph Lawless is facing legal battles from almost every direction and his legal team has been successful, but it’s all been an exhausting according to Lawless.
When you put yourself out there in the public it comes with the territory. I don’t know how major celebrities deal with it. I can’t even imagine.