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Entertainment: Urban Exploration Photography


This week, before the rain made its unwelcome return to England, the Piercing Pirate crew packed their cameras and went out into the countryside for some Urbex adventures!


Abandoned car in West Lulworth. Credit: Cissa Rego

Urban Exploration, also known as Urbex or UE, is the exploration of buildings and other man-made structures that are abandoned and/or in a state of ruins. It may sometimes involve trespassing on private property, but respected photographers will stick to the rule of no breaking and entering. Structures explored by Urbex photographers include factories, catacombs, sewers, storm drains, transit and utility tunnels and bunkers. Basically, you go anywhere you are not necessarily ‘supposed’ to go!

The unspoken rule of urban exploring is “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”, but it can sometimes be a dangerous hobby. Those exploring storm drains are at risk of flash floods and poor ventilation, while many old buildings can be rather fragile and unstable. The UE community also urges people to respect the places they visit, leaving them in the same condition for the next person who might stumble upon its eroded beauty. Never steal, vandalise or litter!

Rusted and unused chains. Credit: Cissa Rego

Rusted and unused chains. Credit: Cissa Rego

Urbex is now becoming one of the most popular styles of photography, partly due to its increased media attention, including numerous television shows. Check out Urban Explorers on the Discovery Channel for a great insight into the practise.

If you are planing to enter this derelict world, you must always research the risks. Get yourself trained by an experienced professional and listen to their advice on the subject. After that, jump in!

Some great resources for Urban Exploration on the web:

Forbidden Places – All about Urban Exploration.
Infiltration – The zine about going places you’re not supposed to go.
Urban Explorers – A friendly network of Urban photographers.
Silent UK – A great blog for UE photography.


5 thoughts on “Entertainment: Urban Exploration Photography

  1. Urban Exploration is a very cool hobby. The only problem is that it is quite hard to find any objects here around Helsinki. 🙂 The ones that are abandoned are usually demolished due to land costs …

    • Oh that’s too bad! It can be difficult to find stuff to photograph indeed. I had never even heard about it until our photographer (Cissa) showed me some photos she had taken! It’s so beautiful. I suppose joining local communities helps since you can ask if there IS anything around the area you live, there might be some hidden gems out there!

      • True. Perhaps I should start searching for some local stuff (related forums, etc). I’d love to do something like that. The good (or, well, “good”) thing is that my home town in Estonia is full of abandoned buildings, factories, etc … So, perhaps next summer is the latest deadline for me to jump into the hobby. 🙂

      • Go for it! Would enjoy seeing the results. Love your photos by the way, and your dog is a cutie!

      • Thank You very much! I will try to do it as soon as possible. 🙂 Let’s see what comes out … The dog is really cool, but the destruction he makes on a daily basis is sometimes terrible. :)))

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