23 Evocative Images of Abandonment and Urban Decay - Digital Photography School

23 Evocative Images of Abandonment and Urban Decay


House of the Spirits

the doctor will see you now

House of Horror

Found in Field Dead

Today I found myself surfing through flickr admiring a growing number of images on the theme of abandonment and urban decay. While perhaps not an every day kind of subject for most of us – there’s a growing number of photographers exploring a theme that can produce striking images. Here’s a few that caught my eye today. Click these images to be taken to their home where they can be viewed larger and where you can learn more about the stories and the wonderful photographers behind them.

The Best I Ever Had

terres rouges

No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

Just before Leaving

And now, Ladies & Gentlemen....

Lee Plaza [3]

Jailhouse rock

Abandoned #2

Sunset 1

Urbex Lesson Reworked

old abandoned house


Grime Scene

Sand Storm

Affittasi stanza ammobiliata - Furnished room for rent

Lost souls

Abandoned Building, Camp Washington

Auto Graveyard

Abandoned Harpurhey Swimming Baths Manchester

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Phil Burmeister January 10, 2013 11:28 am

    I LOVE these type of shooting style. I am always looking for this exact thing. I made it my final in school and made a A++. I like try to think if these could tell their stories. At one time these were al brand new and clean, cars that at one time shined. I love trying to find old farms too. Lots of fun

  • Ben Chapman December 28, 2012 08:01 am

    Urban exploration is awesome.

    This reminds me I should post some of my rubes photos on to flickr

  • mark nawrocki February 27, 2012 01:06 am

    these are almost all HDR! seems the new norm.

  • bigdave February 24, 2012 03:10 pm

    MY GOD! I absolutely LOVE these photos. VERY inspiring to me, and the locations....WOW!

  • Barry Jackson February 19, 2012 01:14 pm

    I have always loved this subject.

    I just wish I had HDR back when I did most of mine.


  • Eric February 19, 2012 03:12 am

    I was out the other day and found this image


  • Canonfan February 19, 2012 03:01 am

    Excellent photos, the HDR photos are a little overcooked for my tastebuds, would like to see the originals to get feel for the reality.

  • Christophe Delas February 18, 2012 10:43 pm

    these shots are great

  • Catherine F February 17, 2012 07:11 pm

    These photos are wonderful! I am curious about where these photos were taken- do the buildings have names? Why were some of them abandoned with furniture and equipment still in them? Thank you for sharing.

  • Vanilene de Aro February 17, 2012 06:36 pm

    These are really great photos...and very sad as well....I'm learning how to play the piano and it really saddens me to see a photo of an abandoned grand piano in some scary building...

  • Jon February 17, 2012 06:29 pm

    Great shots but I am sorry I am not at all a fan of HDR - for me it loses the atmosphere

  • Doug February 17, 2012 01:35 pm

    I LOVE Urban Decay photography !! This is a great share. I have a question. I live in Columbus Ohio and was wondering if there are/is a site that compiles urban decay places in different cities and publishes them?? It's hard to find abandon buildings in a big city. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


  • Kris February 17, 2012 01:00 pm

    Very nice pictures from everyone. Thank you all for sharing! Here is some of my work.


  • paul February 17, 2012 12:28 pm

    A great set of images.

  • paul February 17, 2012 12:28 pm

    A fantastic set of images! Thanks for sharing these!

  • Sharon February 17, 2012 09:10 am

    These are just amazing images!

  • Phil February 17, 2012 03:38 am

    Growing a bit weary with HDR and super saturated colors.

  • De Backer Michel February 16, 2012 07:01 pm

    Hi everyone, i am a belgian photographer. I am doing a lot of urban decay Photography. Take look at my portfolio website http://www.debackermichel.be (flash required) and would love to see you all at my Facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/debackerphotography

  • Shing February 16, 2012 05:16 pm

    Interesting! Very nice compositions! Though, those photos reminds me of Silent Hill. :)

  • Nicole February 14, 2012 06:58 pm

    Another one for you, a flickr member I have followed for a long time, especially check out his Neverland photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/tunnelbug/

  • Eugene February 14, 2012 03:18 am

    Awesome collection of striking photographs

  • Stila February 13, 2012 09:29 pm

    Some of the examples are really stunning! Personally I am a bit tired of seeing all that HDR in abandonment photography, but that is just a matter of taste. ;)
    Here in Italy we have a lot of abandoned places and I often go exploring them with my friends. Many times this also proves to be a great occasion for visiting places that we otherwise wouldn't even know existed!

    abandoned factory:

    church in an abandoned mental hospital:

  • RookieSLR February 13, 2012 08:33 am

    Hi Folks,

    Here are a couple of pictures I took that will fit this topic:




    Rookie SLR

  • shell February 13, 2012 04:16 am

    Well i use to get high and be out there on the street many years ago, but have been clean for some time but the picture of "furnished room for rent" reminds me of the rooms i use to stay in during my time of addiction. that is so crazy how things are so true you just don't see it until your mind is clear.

  • Mei Teng February 12, 2012 07:58 pm

    Beautiful images of urban decay. One of my favourite photography subjects.

  • Frank February 12, 2012 05:44 am

    Really moving stuff, nice

  • Gabby February 11, 2012 01:27 pm

    Going along with Nathan...

    Anyone in the Chicago area who's into urbex, hit me up! :)

  • Steve Loos February 11, 2012 01:23 pm


    Interesting photos!

  • Nathan February 11, 2012 11:04 am

    Anyone in the Seattle area with experience in urbex, let me know. It's definitely something I want to get in to.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer February 11, 2012 08:39 am

    Very nice collection of what I call "haikyo" images. That is the term for urban explorying shots in Japan where I did a majority of this type of photography. It is not easy to find such large scale abandoned sites in Florida, but I did discover this cement plant:


    Anyone in the Tampa Bay area reading this and up for urban ex shooting contact me.

  • The Girl Behind February 11, 2012 07:48 am

    An old one from me; a picture of neglect at the edge of an English beach


  • Scottsdale Wedding Photographer February 11, 2012 07:46 am

    Wow! There are some gorgeous shots in there. The Black and white photo of what appears to be a hospital gurney with light streaming trough the open window. Great tones and composition and not over processed so that I feel like I am looking at an actual photograph.

  • jim February 11, 2012 05:15 am

    dok, it depends on whos shooting. hdr is the easiest way to get all available light into the shot. I shoot a lot of hdr but I also strobe while exploring.


    Strobe + hdr

    A lot of the above images in the original post are from Detroit, where I shoot.

  • dok February 11, 2012 04:14 am

    Great fan of urbex and this selection is beautiful. But why on earth does it have to be always in HDR ? I love it too when there a natural feeling and when the photographer made a real decision regarding the exposure.

    Ex-USSR must be a heaven for urbex...

  • tinyhands February 11, 2012 03:53 am

    There's a fine line between urban decay and urban blight. Sometimes, like with a Starbux on every corner, the line isn't so fine.

  • February 11, 2012 03:31 am

    Urban exploration is one of my top favorite things to do. I love the feeling of stepping back into history. Not many people get to say that they have. It may sound weird, but I do become attached to certain buildings. And that "abandoned" (more so moldy) smell that hits you when you first walk into an access point? I love it.

  • Jeff E Jensen February 11, 2012 03:16 am

    These are all fantastic images. I love that HDR is being used.

    I love mixing urban decay with light painting:


  • Keith Barnes February 11, 2012 03:13 am

    Hi Darren, I blogged about this subject last week and it was very popular, the best site I found for help, locations, tutorials and galleries was Talkurbex http://www.talkurbex.com/ Keep up the good work, Keith

  • raghavendra February 11, 2012 03:01 am

    As when photography comes to picture, every one tells about portrait and nature.
    This article gives us a new perspective.

    Here's mine

  • Mark February 11, 2012 02:50 am

    Assembly line

    Broken piano

    Graffiti reflection (two inches of ice on the floor in the building)

    Broken door in an abandon school

    Pump room in an old factory

  • MikeC366 February 11, 2012 02:31 am

    Some fabulous shots there Darren, I guess I'm going to have to up my game a little.

    I have a love hate relationship with urban decay. Sometime it can be beautiful, as above. Other times it can be a blight on our communities: http://wp.me/p268wp-9s


  • Erik Kerstenbeck February 11, 2012 02:31 am


    I love Urbex - it is great to do them in HDR! Here is one from a trip to Texas of an old Ford...


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