Jon Pack's fascination with the Olympics didn't begin until 2008. Actually, the NYC-based photographer is open about the fact that he simply didn't "have much interest" in the games at all. Then Beijing hosted. Media swarmed. The world became captivated by the country's $42 billion infrastructure, and Pack? "I couldn't wrap my head around the question, 'What's going to happen to the $40 billion cities once everyone leaves?'" So, out of curiosity, he checked out the Olympic cities of Montreal, which hosted the summer games in '76, and Lake Placid, a 2,500-person village in New York that hosted in 1932 and '80. And that was just the beginning. Independent filmmaker Gary Hustwit—Helvetica, Urbanized—took interest in the project ("When I saw some of those first images, I was blown away," Hustwit says) and so the pair split up a handful of particularly interesting host cities and, separately, "dropped into these places and let our curiosity direct where we go."
The result is The Olympic City a book (out tomorrow) and traveling exhibition (opens tomorrow at Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Powerhouse Arena) of the photos Hustwit and Pack snapped, from Helsinki, Finland's 1952 Olympic Stadium to London's 2012 architectural spread, from Athens' "completely unused" village to Beijing's hulking gray structures. "It's a little bit of an archaeological excursion," Hustwit says. "We're trying to find the evidence of the olympics in these places and look at how it's affected that neighborhood and how people are living in these spaces."
Oh, and that lovely architectural curve, above? That's part of Athens' 2004 Olympic Sports Complex, which the federal government fails to maintain, outside of paying guards to keep people out. While beautiful, Hustwit and Pack say "Athens is the example of what not to do." More photos, below.