Here`s an unhealty addiction. A fair warning: Dont start or you wont be able to stop.
As a photographer, painter or any kind of artist that creates or captures a mood, you are always looking for that special feeling, that one emotion that you feel and want to capture. Beware, thats how it starts.
I have always liked old stuff more than new. Surely I can appriciate a modern building, if its made to look good, but it doesnt give me the thrill I get when I see really old stuff. So after I started photography, it didnt take long before I discovered Urban Exploring. (Urbex for short)
Surfing the internet looking for places to go and make photo`s of something different from the usual, I came across a few urbex sites and those photos just blew my mind! I was hooked right there and then. But…finding sites like that, thats a real trick.
My husband remembered a burned down old farm in the neighborhood. Most of the building is still standing, but it was unhabitable so we decided to go there and just see whats there, and maybe take a few shots.
We had to go through a garden so full of weeds that we almost gave up. Using my tripod to clear a path we finally came at the house, and oh boy….it had everything I was looking for. Old, it had an abandoned feel, and there were still some items left of the owners.
It almost couldnt get better than that.
Almost…..because we wanted more…bigger…..We visited several abandoned farms in the neighborhood, but most were impossible to enter. In this country, they put up wood in front of doors and windows, so unless you bring heavy tools, there is no way to get in.
So what were we to do? We had developped an eye for abandoned buildings, we spotted them everywhere. I never knew there were so many! But all mpossible to enter, and our desire for the inside just grew. We had to go to another country for this, thats for sure. .
So… we started to look around on the urbex websites. Such wonderfull places! But there`s a few rules in Urbex land…first of all, when entering a site, you NEVER
take stuff or destroy anything. You dont even move anything. Just leave everything the way you found it, do not disturb anything, just enjoy whats there. One guy has put it wonderfully:
Take nothing but your photos, and leave nothing but your footsteps.
Its a rule we live by.
The other very important rule to Urbex is to be secretive about the location. After all, the more people find your urbex site, the less unique your photos will be. And thats what its all about….
So after finding so many fantastic Urbex photos, we needed to find out the locations. Nobody was going to tell us anything, so we had to find out for ourselves. That really is the hardest part, but not impossible. We have found many locations in Belgium and Germany. Industrial sites, charcoal mines, castles, assylums, abandoned factories, a power plant, a hospital, a railways station, a militairy base….all hugh and all very abandoned and spooky.
We have visited some of the locations, and got about 6 lined up for the next weekends. I cant begin to discribe the feeling you get inside those abandoned secrets. It is fabulous. And the stuff thats left behind, is amazing, and makes for very different photos, most with a creepy feel to it, but all with a sense of history, of things that used to be…
Now…. if I have caught your attention, and you want to try for yourself…please know this.
Urbex is NOT LEGAL, and usually dangerous! Its also dirty.
Every old abandoned building is forbidden to enter. And sometimes its not easy to get in, but usually other Urbexers have made a way in, all you have to do is find it. If not, you have to break in without destoying anything.
Sometimes, theres security. Or the neighbours will call the police.
If you get cought you will understand the rule about taking nothing but your photos, and leave nothing but your footsteps, a little better. They wont throw you in jail for just making photos usually. They will make you leave, and unless you start a fight, you wont be in too much trouble. Its called: the crime without victims.
Now if you get cought with your pockets full of urbex treasures half way out of the building, you are a thief, and thats a whole other level of trouble! So is vandalism.
Just stick by the rules, and enjoy the excitement!