I have an obsession, some people call it sick, others call it weird, I’ve even heard exciting which I can get on board with. It’s Urban Exploring, (also done in rural areas) and it can be quite costly if you’re caught in a punishable area. I have paid fines for this obsession due to not carefully picking out my exploration companions. I have extracted illness and general weakness from adventures with toxins or general bacteria overgrowth.
When I first got serious about UE I spent an abnormal amount of time inside dangerous environments crawling around large steam pipes in tunnels, rubbing my face against fungai of all sorts and asbestis, just to get to the connecting tunnel that would lead us to a building
I’ve yet to explore in my many visits to a certain property. I love the thrill of possibly getting caught, the anticipation of finding thing’s unseen by many in a long time.
Abandoned buildings, closed communities and ghost towns are unkept playgrounds for Adults who are daring.
Some people explore these places or only abandoned places with violent pasts or haunted histories. These are not attractions to me, it’s the simplicity of the isolation, the apocalyptic feeling of being one of the few remaining beings… though I don’t spend my time entertaining the idea of an apocalyptic world while inside my ruins. I enjoy the idea of being somewhere not many people will dare to venture to have an intimate glimpse at history.
Sifting through books, notebooks, photos, and old technology left behind. My favorite type of exploration is one where I have no previous history on the building. It really lets me use investigative skills to piece together the building’s purposes (sometimes multiple), its time of use and abandonment etc.
Part of my back problems are probably from the 12 plus pounds of stuff I would be able to shove into a backpack I carried in virtually empty void some supplies I deemed necessary, then left however with it barely able to zip and every thread looking direly threatened. Sometimes the hike onto a property could be up to 3 miles in the dark through woods. It depended on the level of stealth you wanted to execute. Add that to the amount of walking inside the buildings. Sometimes I would leave piles of things near doors I knew we would have to pass again so I would only have to walk with it in my bag on the way out as we passed each pile.
Through a lot of my photography you can spot random items that were extracted from an abandoned building. Old phone receivers I might be holding in a self portrait or a subject might hold in a portrait would be from one of the various buildings I explored in Detroit. It’s a small way of keeping the places and my adventures close to me. Also for the longest time I didn’t have a good camera, just a point and shoot and the level of darkness in some of these places couldn’t be penetrated well with a built in point and shoot flash. So I got into the habit of taking souvenirs from each place to prove I had been there, a common trait among explorers of all types.
I haven’t been back to many of the places I visited when younger since I got my DSLR’s despite my wanting to. There is a lot more to consider (in my book) when taking all this equipment with me than before when it was just about the exploration.
Below is a gallery of some of my photo’s from my abandoned adventures. Here is a pinterest board filled with places I’ve either been but mostly where I want to go; all are abandoned.
Some pretty interesting sites, like Bodie, CA. Image to the left taken by Dan Heller, not property of mine.
For more interesting American history through Abandoned towns and buildings, plus a lot of interesting things left behind in Russia, view my pinterest board of places I would love to photograph: Ruin Porn edition.