When buildings are abandoned and forgotten, it’s the end of a story. Slowly these old structures will be reclaimed by their environment. This process of urban decay is sad and beautiful. It’s also a unique photo opportunity, according to urban explorers.
Photographers of urban decay focus on what happens after the end, when buildings are no longer in use. They show the striking beauty of decay in the buildings at large, as well as in the details. The photos of abandoned architecture remind us that everything can fall apart. At the same time, photos of urban decay are a way to remember the past. These photos capture the last traces of stories that soon will be entirely forgotten.
If you’d like to get into urban decay photography yourself, you first need to find a suitable location. Try to look for abandoned buildings such as hospitals, sanitoriums, factories, prisons, schools. There may be groups of local urban explorers that keep a list of abandoned buildings in your area. A quick online search could already get you quite far. Of course, you should be safe (and not break the law) and definitely bring a tripod.
Here are a couple of resources with more tips for shooting urban decay.
Contrastly — Finding Your Way Around Urban Decay Photography
This post covers some of the basic things you should consider when beginning urban decay photography. It also has some great tips for creating stunning photos in abandoned buildings.
Photopoly — Tips for Urban Decay Photography
In this post, you’ll find useful tips for photographing urban decay about gear, when to shoot and composition, among other things.
Urban Decay Photography
Here’s a selection of photos that show the beauty of decay. As you can see in the variation between the photos, each urban photographer has brought their own personal aesthetic to urban exploration.