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

Hope

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+.

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

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

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/ford-built-tough/

  • http://366andallthat.wordpress.com/ MikeC366

    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

    M.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/whalemap Mark

    Assembly line
    http://instagr.am/p/mPGI-/

    Broken piano
    http://instagr.am/p/mVs4M/

    Graffiti reflection (two inches of ice on the floor in the building)
    http://instagr.am/p/mV3n8/

    Broken door in an abandon school
    http://instagr.am/p/mO30X/

    Pump room in an old factory
    http://instagr.am/p/jOpmy/

  • raghavendra

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

    Here’s mine
    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2010/12/narrow-path.html

  • http://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/ Keith Barnes

    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

  • http://jeffejensen.blogspot.com Jeff E Jensen

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

    I love mixing urban decay with light painting:

    http://jeffejensen.blogspot.com/2011/09/light-painting-at-temple-of-birds.html

  • http://www.wix.com/gthreephotography/gthreephotography

    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.

  • tinyhands

    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.

  • http://sdphotographie.wordpress.com/ dok

    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…

  • http://jimhuntphoto.com jim

    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.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6838691799/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6832853209/in/photostream

    Strobe + hdr
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6819319221/in/photostream

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

  • http://keithpitts.com Scottsdale Wedding Photographer

    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.

  • http://thegirlbehind.com The Girl Behind

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

    http://thegirlbehind.com/neglected-99-of-365/

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    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:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2009/12/27/cement-plant-haikyo-at-day-and-dawn.html

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

  • http://www.nathanfrankephotography.com Nathan

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

  • http://www.steveloosphotography.com Steve Loos
  • http://www.wix.com/gthreephotography/gthreephotography Gabby

    Going along with Nathan…

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

  • http://excitingmomentsyouthsports.blogspot.com Frank

    Really moving stuff, nice

  • Mei Teng

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

  • shell

    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.

  • RookieSLR

    Hi Folks,

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

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photorookie1/4802860312/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photorookie1/4802847830/in/photostream

    Thanks

    Rookie SLR

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/stila_rebel/ Stila

    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:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stila_rebel/5727129920/in/set-72157625654072423

    church in an abandoned mental hospital:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stila_rebel/5067703857/in/set-72157625133561790

  • Eugene

    Awesome collection of striking photographs

  • http://www.nicolehastings.com Nicole

    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/

  • Shing

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

  • http://www.debackermichel.be De Backer Michel

    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
    Bye

  • Phil

    Growing a bit weary with HDR and super saturated colors.

  • Sharon

    These are just amazing images!

  • paul

    A fantastic set of images! Thanks for sharing these!

  • paul

    A great set of images.

  • http://kdmimagery.zenfolio.com/ Kris
  • Doug

    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.

    Doug

  • Jon

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

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/atomeniscencecoil/ Vanilene de Aro

    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…

  • Catherine F

    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.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/c_delas/ Christophe Delas

    these shots are great

  • Canonfan

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

  • Eric

    I was out the other day and found this image

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/egoins43/6883960359/in/photostream

  • http://www.barryjacksonphotography.com Barry Jackson

    I have always loved this subject.

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

    Thanks.

  • bigdave

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

  • mark nawrocki

    these are almost all HDR! seems the new norm.

  • http://benchapmanphotos.blogspot.co.uk/ Ben Chapman

    Urban exploration is awesome.

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

  • Phil Burmeister

    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

  • Jen

    Simply gorgeous, all of them. Thank you.

  • yolanda

    They have such depth…thank u for the inspiration????

  • Kathleen Mekailek

    Here are a few things I wandered into. The first is an abandoned farm house, the tricycle on the porch caught my eye. The other two, I had to go over barb wire into abandoned swimming pool factory, just grabbed a couple shots because it was raining and about 20 degrees outside!

  • sabkon
  • Barry E Warren

    You found some great ones Darren, Thanks for giving me some idea’s

  • Diana Smith

    Loved the building sites, would love to be there myself to explore & take pics all day. On the school bus on its side, how did you get it to elongate, I did like this effect.

  • Brett Ossman

    WOW
    Like these a lot.

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.

    Thanks.

  • Eric

    February 19, 2012 03:12 am

    I was out the other day and found this image

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/egoins43/6883960359/in/photostream

  • 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.

    Doug

  • Kris

    February 17, 2012 01:00 pm

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

    http://kdmimagery.zenfolio.com/p482283219/h39a59c1d#h286067fb
    http://kdmimagery.zenfolio.com/p973057582/h2b46c8cf#h2b46c8cf
    http://kdmimagery.zenfolio.com/p482283219/h39a59c1d#h39a59c1d

  • 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
    Bye

  • 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:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stila_rebel/5727129920/in/set-72157625654072423

    church in an abandoned mental hospital:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stila_rebel/5067703857/in/set-72157625133561790

  • RookieSLR

    February 13, 2012 08:33 am

    Hi Folks,

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

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photorookie1/4802860312/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photorookie1/4802847830/in/photostream

    Thanks

    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

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevel3o7/5052824459/

    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:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2009/12/27/cement-plant-haikyo-at-day-and-dawn.html

    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

    http://thegirlbehind.com/neglected-99-of-365/

  • 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.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6838691799/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6832853209/in/photostream

    Strobe + hdr
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22176685@N07/6819319221/in/photostream

    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:

    http://jeffejensen.blogspot.com/2011/09/light-painting-at-temple-of-birds.html

  • 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
    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2010/12/narrow-path.html

  • Mark

    February 11, 2012 02:50 am

    Assembly line
    http://instagr.am/p/mPGI-/

    Broken piano
    http://instagr.am/p/mVs4M/

    Graffiti reflection (two inches of ice on the floor in the building)
    http://instagr.am/p/mV3n8/

    Broken door in an abandon school
    http://instagr.am/p/mO30X/

    Pump room in an old factory
    http://instagr.am/p/jOpmy/

  • 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

    M.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    February 11, 2012 02:31 am

    Hi

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

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/ford-built-tough/

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