Somebody once said that to understand society at a given point in time, look at their restrooms.

That somebody was me. I don’t know if it is true because I just made that up, but it can certainly feel like the decor and functionality of restrooms, both public and private, say a lot about us and the times we are living in – even if the restroom itself is stuck in time. Do you prefer them looking sterile and harsh? Cozy and kitschy? Luxurious to a fault? Basic and no-frills? High-tech? Perhaps you prefer them done with decor that makes no sense, executed with reckless abandon for any and all design rules as though a monkey on amphetamines went through a curbside dumpster and thought, “yes, this will be perfect!”

More info: arabellaproffer.bigcartel.com | twitter.com | Instagram

#1

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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EllieGirl
Community Member
1 year ago

now thats cool

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For five years, I've been documenting the restrooms around Cleveland that I happened to find myself in. It started as a joke on Instagram, and just kept going. I can’t quite articulate what the criteria were, but my gut always told me when it was something worth a photo. These are interiors that rarely get documented unless they are designed as “selfie bait”. Sure, some restrooms clearly had a big budget, but it is always interesting to see what can be done with a meager budget. Documenting is important because you never know what will be gone tomorrow.

#2

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
1 year ago

what did those ladies smoke?

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#3

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

oh dear god! someone slipped me some brown acid!

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In the short number of years since I started this project as a fun hashtag #restroomsofcleveland, several of these restrooms have been redone or have disappeared completely. The gentrification of cities has erased character and replaced it with subway tiles and Edison bulbs; the rustbelt has been slowly following the “AirSpace” aesthetic much to my disappointment.

#4

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Donna Reynolds
Community Member
1 year ago

The sign says it all.

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#5

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Donna Reynolds
Community Member
1 year ago

And I thought the last one was creepy.

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Bars, theaters, warehouses, grocery stores, private clubs, pinball arcades, museums, schools, churches, furniture stores, and coffee shops are just some of the places you will find in the photo book I compiled – simply titled “The Restrooms of Cleveland.” It is a testament to the fact I hydrate often and have a weak bladder with little regard for location. I wish I had time to tell you my own stories within these facilities; exposed electrical wire, celebrity sightings, girl fights, dance parties, vomit, perfect selfie lighting, and unpaid counseling sessions. There was the time I found myself on my knees under a bride’s dress to fix a mishap, the time I tried desperately to keep the makeshift door closed with one foot while in the dressing room reserved for strippers, and the time a raccoon visited me while minding my own damn business! I’ve seen it all in Cleveland, Ohio, man.

#6

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Clarebear
Community Member
1 year ago

Oh my, this is just plain bad! I'd get a headache just walking into here!

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#7

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

When a rest room is that dark, it's for two reasons: hiding filth and hanky-panky.

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#8

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

if it weren't for the filth on the floor, this one is rather nice. A friend, who is looking over my shoulder and about to get punched, says it's a tad phallic.

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#9

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Donna Reynolds
Community Member
1 year ago

Okey dokey.

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#10

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Night Owl
Community Member
1 year ago

Interesting

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#11

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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bananapower_2.0
Community Member
1 year ago

amaing

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#12

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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LaDonna Hulcy
Community Member
1 year ago

I Love this one!

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#13

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Amy Smith
Community Member
1 year ago

This looks like the ladies in the old Montague Arms in New Cross

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#14

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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What's In Your Head?
Community Member
1 year ago

Dolores! <3

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#15

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

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This is a ladies room, right? Why don't they have chairs/lounges for the guys? I always wondered about that.

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#16

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

no.

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#17

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Karin Gibson
Community Member
1 year ago

I love the bentwood chair.

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#18

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Annemarie Mattheyse
Community Member
1 year ago

I love the black-and-white/teal combination. It's very calming, somehow.

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#19

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Bean59
Community Member
1 year ago

um why tho

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#20

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Kathy Smith
Community Member
1 year ago

Not bad at all.

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#21

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Night Owl
Community Member
1 year ago

I like balloons but ... no, thanks

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#22

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Bean59
Community Member
1 year ago

WOMEN

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#23

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Molly Porter
Community Member
1 year ago

This one looks normal

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#24

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

Ah, no.

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#25

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Rabite
Community Member
1 year ago

This looks like the other side of an interrogation room but with the mirror on the wrong side.

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#26

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Bean59
Community Member
1 year ago

look its a beehive mommy

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#27

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Night Owl
Community Member
1 year ago

The (probably plastic) flowers are a nice touch

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#28

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Molly Porter
Community Member
1 year ago

The wood is so pretty on this one

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#29

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

That is a cool radiator.

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#30

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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EllieGirl
Community Member
1 year ago

the sign

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#31

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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bananapower_2.0
Community Member
1 year ago

how do you use that ?

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#32

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Ashley Nell
Community Member
1 year ago

Reminds me of either a wedding or a funeral.

#33

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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jamie1707
Community Member
1 year ago

glory hole?

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#34

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Lavendar rose
Community Member
1 year ago

Love this! Nancy Spungen !!!

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#35

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Kathy Smith
Community Member
1 year ago

Prison?

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#36

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Zoe's Mom
Community Member
1 year ago

Not an ugly bathroom; it needs some cleaning; maybe storage but it's nice as is.

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#37

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Kathy Smith
Community Member
1 year ago

I love that old sink.

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#38

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Naomi
Community Member
1 year ago

Eh... it's okay....

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#39

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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CR82
Community Member
1 year ago

eww

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#40

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Annette Christopherson
Community Member
1 year ago

Seeing double.

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#41

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Bean59
Community Member
1 year ago

looks like rey's lightsaber

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#42

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Helen Douglas
Community Member
1 year ago

Uh? oh! mmmmmm uh (gulp!) - ummm, don't really want ...... aaaaaghhhh! trapped nightmare!!!!! whoah wake up!, wake UP! Ahhhhh HELP HELP ME don't don't go in !!!!!! no NO DON'T GO IN !!!!!!! What's - what's oh no that DOOR!! no no can't ........THAT DOOR !!!! Ohhhhhh sweet jee......... whispers sssss sshhhh behind OH the Shadows! Noooo (moan) oh gotta gotta out out out out NOW!

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#43

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Donna Reynolds
Community Member
1 year ago

Grandma says “Did you wash your hands”?

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#44

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Annette Christopherson
Community Member
1 year ago

Different perspectives.

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#45

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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E Menendez
Community Member
1 year ago

That's a lot of soap for one sink.

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#46

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Bean59
Community Member
1 year ago

let me just throw mysel off a cliff...

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#47

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Zoe's Mom
Community Member
1 year ago

At least it's clean.

#48

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Naomi
Community Member
1 year ago

Bathroom?

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#49

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Naomi
Community Member
1 year ago

Ehh.. ehh...

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#50

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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What's In Your Head?
Community Member
1 year ago

Are those old drops of blood? o___O

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#51

I Spent Five Years Photographing Bathrooms In Cleveland.

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Naomi
Community Member
1 year ago

It just looks dirty.