Regulary I visit deserted locations / buildings to photograph these in the most
This is what we call “urban photography”.
With urban photograpy (also called urbex) I take pictures in abandoned houses, buildings
As an urban photographer I want to capture the abandonment, which creates a certain
lurid atmosphere on a photo.
Most urban locations can not be accessed!
Often the buildings almost collapse or the site is closed and difficult or even entirely unaccessible.
As an urban photographer, you cannot just legally enter a building or closed site.
Unauthorized entrance wich gives an immediate risk of being caught, but in the end it is also the
excitement that brings extra enjoyment, right?
The biggest advantage of a (forbidden) closed area is that there are not many people inside
which will give you a chance to make more unique photos.
Finally, the lurid atmosphere that you want to capture in a picture needs to be as
orginal and unmatched as possible and is not already disturbed by other persons and/or
If you want to enter a property legally, you can try to contact the owner and ask for permission.
Still very nice but less exciting and often less unique….
As urban phtographer you destroy nothing and you leave no trace (Take only pictures, leave
If you get caught, stay friendly and explain what your goal is. Often you get away with a
warning and leave the premises.
Sometimes police will be called which can lead to a fine and or you need to erase your
It’s therefore wise to use multiple memory cards and exchange while shooting.
If you get caught and you need to erase your card, you still have some photos on a
previously changed memory card.
Are you planning to do urban photography, never go alone!!
In urban photography it is important that you are at least with 2 people.
(Preferably not with whole groups because the chance of getting caugth becomes bigger).
Often you are in buildings that are not always safe to enter and if something happens
you have someone around you who can help.
Searching for a location takes a lot of time…. Many hours searching the internet and
hope the location still exists and is not demolished.
In the Netherlands buildings are often demolished immediately but this is not the case
in surrounding countries. Here you have more chance to find nice urban locations.
If you’ve found a location and enter it, be careful.
Pay attention to where you walk because for example, a floor or ceiling can collapse
because of neglect or lack of maintenance.
Before you know it, you’ll fall/crash through it with all the consequences.
Wearing good clothes and especially sturdy shoes is very important.
Often there is glass or pieces of wood with nails and therefore sturdy shoes are essential.
You often need to climb and crawl so a summer outfit is not the best choice.
Also keep in mind that a location does not always have to be abandoned.
For example, in some places you can encounter wanderers or loiterers.
It does not have to be a problem in itself, but you usually go with expensive equipment
around and unfortunately there are some people who are interested in it…..
What do I take with me?
- Wide-angle lens (16-35mm)
- Small telephoto lens (24-70mm)
- 4 memory cards
- Remote for camera
- sturdy tripod
- Small first aid kit
- Mobile phone
- Good flashlight
- Warm dark clothes and sturdy shoes
- Replacement clothing that I leave in the car
- Something to eat and drink
- Paper handkerchiefs
- Small bottle of hand hygiene
- Leatherman tool (knife, pincers, saw….)
- Backpack that suits everything
- ID card or driver’s license
Urban locations are usually not shared to prevent people who are not involved
with urban photography and just visiting the locations for example to spray graffiti,
to demolish or to take things along.
At some locations there are (or they think there are) more valuable things or items
and it would be a shame if these are taken.
Let’s be honest, the most beautiful photos are the ones that seems as if nobody has
been there for years and where nature is the only one that has influenced how it looks.
The real urban photographer thus only takes pictures and leaves the rest unattended.
Finally, it is about photographing the original undisturbed lurid space….
Sometimes it’s really lurid and sometimes it’s only the stories that makes it lurid.
(How exciting it is to enter an old abandoned building that has been used as a former
Look at my urban pictures and make up your own lurid story around it…….