I’ve always enjoyed being scared. There’s a sense of immediate self-value when your life flashes before you, or you get a sudden surge of adrenalin coursing through your body. You know the feeling, the one you get when you look over the edge of a building, the one when you drop something of value and quickly catch it again. It’s short, sharp, and in that one moment you’re left breathing deeply, usually uttering a profanity, and then you come back to reality. That’s the best way in which I can describe this photoshoot. I like pushing boundaries and trying something new, so I wanted to try my hand at urban exploration.
Welcome to the crazy house. Please leave your sanity at the door and enter only if you’ve lost your mind. This little adventure was a week in the making. I had scoured the internet for local abandoned buildings and infrastructures that were of a decrepit nature. I had made myself a list, checked it twice, and this was the fist of my foray into the unknown world of yesteryear. I decided that my first abandoned expedition would be solo. Get as much excitement and fear into me as I could. Adrenalin filled adventure with a dash of stupidity perhaps. My first visit was purely reconnaissance. The findings on the internet were dated; I wanted to make sure that I was not getting excited for no good reason. I drove there one Wednesday afternoon, and much to my pleasure saw it wasting away along the river on the hill it had so long called home. Encased in a security fence with trespassing and CCTV monitoring warning signs, I decided that I needed to regroup, recharge my camera, and come back when I was less likely to get caught. I’m all for a photo opportunity, but adding “breaking and entering” or “trespassing” to my clean slate of a record, is something I care to avoid. Patience is a virtue, at least that’s what they say.
I lasted until Friday afternoon. I blindly hoped, that much like my desire to get away from work and start my weekend was akin to the security who patrol the area too – ready to clock off and put their feet up. I recall sitting at my desk, counting down the hours, then the minutes until I could leave and climb through the metal fence and explore. I arrived, parked my car, waited for the coast to clear, grabbed my gear, and quickly entered. Before my eyes, which had slowly adjusted to the sudden darkness from the outside world, was an abandoned, completely gutted building riddled with the history of inhumane moments. The walls told the stories – what it once was, and now what it had become. I was in my element.
At one point whilst inside, I was at the foot of a stairway leading to the second floor. I went up, explored (nothing too exciting), and swiftly returned, closing the door behind me. I stepped 2m away to photograph the corridor, there was no wind, the door was closed tightly (by me), and I heard it. Thump! The door was ajar then closed, and I saw it happen. It made a slamming sound that not only reverberated off the walls of the deteriorating building around me, but it also penetrated deep in me; it made my body jolt, as if something brushed passed me after the door slammed. I’m not one to fear (or really believe in) ghosts, or run away, so I muttered some kind of profanity and that I was there to photograph only, and stayed another 15 minutes. I won’t deny that if I was in my 60’s I may well have needed a change of clothes; that adrenalin I searched for, I sure found. I then waited for the security patrol to pass, and exited.
No ghosts were harmed in the creation of this blog, but now to let the photos do the talking:
Urban exploration was exciting, death-defying, a little debaucherous and I plan to do more, much more.
In fact it was so exciting I re-visited and did some further exploring. This time it was cut short due to a persistent security guard patrolling the area.
For more photos, past and present, join me over at Instagam: @tonnes.