What happens when someone is the last to leave a place? When there’s no one else to come back to it? Time and the elements claim it for their own. The course of different weathers and forgotten upkeep are unkind, but sometimes they leave an imprint behind. The paint chips from the walls, but the dust on the windowsill remains. The beams bend and the light doesn’t shine anymore, but everything else is left untouched. Until one day, it’s not. And its found once more, a ticking time bomb that goes off in spectacular glory. Allowing all of its secrets to unfold.
Urban Exploration, or “Urbex” as it is affectionately known is the discovery and exploration of abandoned dwellings. There are those who view these places as nothing more as bricks and cement and essentially come to vandalise and pick apart what remains. But there are those who see beyond what lies inside and try to capture the essence of a place for posterity. Urbex can give a real glimpse into history, and not just history for everyone, but personal histories too. Sometimes the greatest finds are the small ones. Tiny cottages that are left after the owners die that are long forgotten, hidden away until they are stumbled upon as if by magic.
Photographers have taken the opportunity to perfect their skills by combining the two, and thus creating a harmony between photography and urbex. Abandoned locations make for the perfect atmospheric image. All over the world people are searching for the lost, hidden and forgotten. And they’ve taken their cameras along for the ride. But urbex does not come without risks. Some locations are not easy to access. Some locations are too dangerous to access. There are also legal connotations, especially if you are caught by someone who still holds the deeds. But still, urbex is on the rise. And it’s not hard to see why.