vrijdag 5 oktober 2012

Urban Exploring

A little while I was driving through the neighbourhood with my boyfriend, when we noticed an old, abandoned building. Not too big or special or anything, I´d actually seen it a few times before...still it wouldn´t leave my mind that day. It would be such a nice place to make some photos! So...that evening I asked Mark if we should try to enter it for some shots...he was up for it (him being less scared but also more carefull than me actually makes him the perfect ´partner in crime´), so we packed a bag with neccessities and took the leap.

It was quite easy to get inside the building, since the fence around it was wide open. Entering the building itself was neither a problem, it had no windows or doors left and seemed to welcome infiltrants with open arms. We actually picked a perfect evening for our adventure, the sun was low on the horizon, shining into the building...her beams animating the graffiti art on the walls.

The building had 2 floors and a basement. A pillar that was covered with tiny blue, shiny tiles, looked pretty misplaced in this interior, probably one of the few items that weren´t harmed by the years of abandonment. The rest of the interior was mostly cracked up.

Here are some instagrammed pictures of the building:

At one moment it became too dark to shoot any more proper pics, so we decided to leave...but right then some guy closed the fence! Not sure if we were even allowed to be there, we hid behind the walls untill we were sure he had left, and climbed quickly over the barrier. I´m glad no one saw us. Even though we did nothing wrong and just took some nice shots (artistic purposes, right?!), it still felt a bit felon-ish :P

Visiting the building made me very curious about what it had been in it´s more glorious days, so when we got home I started googling the address. After some online research I found out it had been a milk factory, build in the first years of 1900. I found a réally old picture of the factory in it´s good years:


The factory has been empty for quite some years now. I discovered that we weren´t the first photographers over there...the building has been the location of many photoshoots and even a porn movie (oh my goodness!). Even though the ruin has been an eyesore for many years now for most villagers living in it´s neighbourhood, it´s still not taken down, for unknown reasons. It will be demolished one day, that´s for sure...only nobody knows when.

Finding out about the many photographers that went ahead of us into the old building, made the experience a little less special...but I discovered something way more important: this activity actually has a name. It´s called ´urban exploring´. According to Wikipedia:

''Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities.''

And that discovery, ladies and gentleman...was the beginning of a new passion (like I don´t have enough yet :P)!

I´m not gonna write all the details of this ´exploring hobby´ down here (I myself still have to find out so much more about it!), if you´re interested you can google it and find lóts of interesting pages. There´s one page I´d like to share with you though, cause it explains the attraction of decayed ´wasteland´ pretty well, and gives some information about it´s emergence as well.

A lot of urban explorers are also passionate about photography and make it a goal to depict their urban adventures in their own special styles. Those shots can be found on ´urbex´ forums, often lacking any referral to the exact location of where the shoot has taken place...to prevent destruction and keep the crowds away. The beauty lies in the abandonement, right? The bar is set high, some pictures I´ve seen I can only dream of ever being able to equal (not talking about the shots themselves of course, but more of the skills of their shooters). But I try to keep telling myself it´s about the fun. Every professional has started as a beginner, with pictures they thought were not really worth showing. Might it be possible that they became better photographers because they díd show them anyway, listened to feedback they got about them, took advantage of the advice and allowed themselves to grow?

A specifically popular editing technique among urbexers seems to be the HDR editing. I´ve started to play with this technique a bit recently. I took the leap and placed two shots beneath: they were taken in the flourfactory in Leiden. I did not take three pictures (like you have to for the ´real thing´ with HDR), but used the HDR editing tool in Photoshop. What do you think of them?!


Well...that´s it for now: a little introduction to my newfound hobby. I´ve visited some more amazing abandoned buildings in the meantime, but more about those adventures later.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. als je van die foto's kaarten maakt, wil ik ze wel kopen, hoor!!

  2. Sounds superadventurous! I really love the photos you've taken so far. The very first one in this post has to be my fav. Keep it comin'!


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