Urban Explorer Matt Emmett Captures The Desolate Elegance Of Abandoned Places

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For the last three years, urban explorer and photographer Matt Emmett has taken pictures of hidden locations across Northern Europe. He finds it thrilling to enter a previously-forgotten world and discover its new idiosyncrasies firsthand. Emmett is particularly fascinated in industrial remnants and ex-military sites, and he’s documented it in a series titled Forgotten Heritage.

Having a camera with me allows me to prolong that thrill long after the building is gone,” Emmett writes on his website.“It’s an often quoted cliché but there really is a strong sense of palpable history present in abandoned buildings, the items left behind like paperwork in a drawer or plaques or signs in an industrial plant, allow you a glimpse into the past. I consider experiencing these places to be a great privilege.

The landscape images feature hulking machines now obsolete. Rust, dirt, and grime covers control panels and infrastructure as the earth reclaims the land. Emmett is interested in capturing the aesthetics, character, and history of the buildings. He describes this process:

From the point of view of a photographer there is a total lack of distraction in the stillness of a derelict building; the sound and movement associated with people or workers has been removed, for me this makes them far more sensory than when they are occupied. Your mind can easily focus on what is around you and takes in so much more. The building’s voice is clear and a character and visual aesthetic emerges that was much harder to define than if it was a busy, populated environment. (Via designboom)

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