Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Urban Exploration

Brighton Biennial – Photography 2012

Two years ago the Brighton Biennial had some very strong photographic exhibitions during the month of the Biennial and I hope it will  so again. This year the dates are from the 6th October to the 7th November.

Under a title:

Agents of Change: Photography and the Politics of Space

Bringing international and emerging photographers and artists to the city, the fifth Brighton Photo Biennial explores the theme Agents of Change: Photography and the Politics of Space  with a packed programme of free exhibitions, new commissions, talks, screenings, workshops and masterclasses.

Four Versions of Three Routes

Preston is my Paris

An original body of work produced for BPB12 by the collective Preston is my Paris, directed by Adam Murray with photographers Jamie Hawkesworth, Robert Parkinson, Theo Simpson, and graphic designer Ben Mclaughlin. Four Versions of Three Routes explores possible constituency reformation in Brighton. Photographs taken and displayed along the debated constituency borders question how electoral districts are decided and how change might affect residents. Follow the routes to discover over 40 site-specific street posters. The routes can be found in a specially produced pamphlet available at all BPB12 venues…...MORE

© Jamie Hawkesworth

Urbex, the name given to Urban Explorers and the photographs they take is a very well appreciated genre, when we posted about it here and here they were some of our most popular articles so it is with interest that I see the Biennial has an exhibition of the work of these adventurers. I look forward to seeing the exhibition

Urban Exploration

Room (West of Brighton Bandstand)  153 King’s Rd, Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN1

Bradley Garrett, Hanging from a Crane at the New Court building, City of London, 2010. © Bradley Garrett.

Taking nothing but photographs, leaving nothing but footprints, urban explorers around the world risk injury or arrest to infiltrate unseen or off-limits city spaces. They create astonishing images of abandoned buildings, construction sites  and underground tunnels. By photographing closed and hidden spaces and sharing those photos online, explorers bring these spaces to public view and add transparency to the urban make-up.

Housed in a repurposed shipping container, this exhibition presents a split-screen projection of hundreds of images  taken in cities around the globe.

There are many other exhibitions, talks, workshops and events and if it is as good as 2010 then it would be worth arranging a weekend by the sea on the south coast during October. Full details of the

Brighton Photo Biennial

6 October – 4 November 2012

‘The Ruins of Detroit’ by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre

We are aware, because of the popularity of our posts on the subject, that many people are entranced by buildings slowly falling into decrepitude. We have featured a number over the recent months, the first nearly a year ago was Forgotten Detroit – 100 Abandoned Houses then more recently we came across the Urbex groupings, people who seek out such locations to photograph, Urbex (urban explorers with cameras) and Urbex – Talkurbex. Now there is another chance to see such fascinating images at an exhibition in London from the 24th February.

An exhibition at Wilmotte Gallery at Lichfield Studios: 133 OXFORD GARDENS, LONDON W10 6NE 24th February – 5th April

Full details from this web site

“Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.” Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre Tristan Hoare and Julien Dobbs-Higginson are pleased to present a selection of photographs from the much acclaimed body of work The Ruins of Detroit (published: Steidl, 2010). Photographs from this series have previously been exhibited in Ville Fertile, Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris and Metropolis, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen. They will be shown in the UK for the first time. The Ruins of Detroit is a five year collaboration between French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. Together they have documented Detroit’s abandoned buildings, thus bringing to light the current state of ‘Motor City’ through a cinematic series of starkly beautiful photographs. Shooting with a large format, custom made camera, taking advantage of natural light and using long exposures, the images embody the unique atmosphere of each location. Marchand and Meffre’s work retains a formal quality and is conceived as a document, giving the viewer a surreal glimpse of Detroit’s former glory. Like the great civilizations of the past, we interpret them through their remains. Once one of the wealthiest cities in the world, Detroit produced the single most important consumer product of the modern age; the automobile. At its peak, it was the world capital of car production and home to two million people. One factory, The Ford River Rouge Plant, employed more than 90,000 workers and its assembly line extended for almost a mile. This monumental success attracted the great architects of the period and the eclecticism of the city’s building programme reflected every fashion of the day. Yet the American dream soon turned into a nightmare. The 1950s saw machines replace workers and, in the following decades, hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost as the international car market changed beyond recognition and foreign car manufacturers successfully competed for their share of the US market. The images bring to mind a Biblical disaster; it is as if all Detroit’s citizens had fled. The abandoned factories and buildings, vacant schools and derelict ballrooms, to name but a few, are a poignant reminder of the fragility of the modern world and, possibly on a different scale, of a now ‘broken America’. These beautiful, but disturbing, images look un-compromisingly at the remains of the once-astonishing Detroit, as a then global center of capitalism and its following, even more extraordinary, descent into ruin. One is reminded of Detroit’s prophetic motto: Speramus meliora, resurget cineribus (“We hope for better things, which shall rise from the ashes”)

Urbex – Talkurbex

I posted about Urbex, the sort of underground (in some cases literally) movement that explores urban landscapes and architecture, mostly abandoned it would seem, and photographs them. They have a standing piece of self imposed law, “take only pictures, leave nothing but footprints” I must say this is close to my personal philosophy of life.

The previous post of Urbex has been very popular and I have explored the subject area further myself and the most useful and interesting site I have found so far is Talkurbex. This is a forum site which has advice on every aspect of the subject area, these are some of the things they say

“Talk Urbex is the global resource for urban explorers. We have combined our passion for exploring abandoned architecture with advanced photographic techniques to showcase many of the amazing locations around the world.The world is full of abandoned architecture, all you have to do is open your mind…The Talk Urbex group are working to create a documented historic account of significant locations across the world. You can find location photoshoots with photographic and historic accounts of the industrial, care institution, underground, infiltration and much more…Talk Urbex has many of members that are continually pushing the boundaries of technical photography. We are profiling much of this work in the Talk Urbex Portfolio Showcase section which has some of the most amazing images as well as working on photography/post processing tutorials…”

If you have found this an area that attracts you I would recommend you head over to Talkurbex, it is an excellent rescource.

Here are some images from their site

Copyright All rights reserved by Zeami

There are many more images on the Talkurbex gallery here is the link

Urbex (urban explorers with cameras)

My friend Andy showed me a book of his at the weekend about Urbex. This is a…..movement, loose grouping, bunch of passionate individuals who like to explore abandoned buildings and photograph them. The ‘movement’ is international and there are forums from many countries where people post about buildings they have found and sometimes they post their pictures too.

Here are links to some of those forums

Talkingurbex this link opens in their gallery

28 Days Later

Urbex UK

American Urbex

urbex : salve mater 3 by ~cbdphotography


The book in questions that piqued my interest was called Beauty in Decay, it is a photography book featuring 14 different photographers from all over the place. The pictures are predominately HDR representations which give all the images a sort of Giger look, (the guy who designed the sets for Ridley Scott’s Alien movie)You know how it is, you find out about something and suddenly you see it everywhere, so my surprise was not elevated beyond a mild jolt when a new follower of this blog also had an interest and had done some urban exploring of his own. Chris Maskell has some really nice images on his blog site here this is one from a girls school

Chris Maskell

Forgotten Detroit – 100 Abandoned Houses

You may already know of the decline of Detroit, from a once vibrant industrial city it is now being abandoned by large numbers of the population which is leaving many house empty and falling into decay. This is a worrying story of post industrial decline and it must ask the question; where else and where next. This article discusses that decline if you are interested in learning more. But these pictures of houses, falling to decrepitude are a haunting site and more can be seen here where there is a link to the hundred images of the title.

In Detroit, the number of abandoned houses is around 12.000, encompassing an area of 138 square miles ! People are leaving Detroit and soon people will rename the city with the name : Forgotten Detroit ! The news this week that Detroit’s population plunged more than 25% to just 714,000 in the last decade shouldn’t be surprising. The city’s collapse is as well-documented as it is astonishing – the population peaked at nearly 2 million in the 1950s, driven in part by a post-World War II auto industry boom now long gone.

Finding Gems

I love the way on a lazy Sunday the internet allows you to wander far and wide and sometimes find gems. Yesterday I happened upon a Flickr stream  of Duncan Salisbury-Gaumont His images are so well seen and beautifully realised I encourage you to go an have a look. It is a style, if sunsets or flowers are your main interest you may not get his images, here is a taste