Since 2011, Raptor Blood (Blackie Burns) has been following a group of urban explorers (going by the name of Cave Clan) around the tunnel and cave networks underneath Sydney in Australia and photographing what they see, where they dwell and how they live. Connecting with the group through their shared interest in urban decay and abandoned architecture, Burns is able to access areas that are usually closed off to outsiders. He says of his first encounters with some members of the group:
The two dudes I met with seemed pretty cool and were informative about the group and had a strong appreciation for the architecture of the tunnels we visited. Although, our expedition was a little worrying when I was walking between the two going down a drain that was barely my shoulders width. We were walking for about 10 minutes, [and] as the tunnel got deeper, hotter and more humid, our conversation started to get a little strange. The guy walking behind me started to talk about masturbation and how he liked to watch himself through a mirror… I asked to leave and luckily enough nothing too strange ended up happening.
Cave Clan thoroughly live their passion of exploring underutilized and forgotten spaces. They turn the most understated corners into homes, personalized with objects of meaning and importance. Burns talks about his surprise of how comfortable some of the dwellings he visited were:
The first, which is located under a huge castle looking sandstone bridge was equipped with electricity, bbq and bar. The area was dusty though, to the point where anybody would feel sick from being in there too long. The second was in a connecting chamber in a network of tunnels running underneath one of Sydney’s secondary CBDs. The drains were surprisingly dry with no bugs. Any Storm water was directed from the living areas and during summer it was surprisingly cold down there, really not a bad place to live!