Thursday, 2 February 2012

Abandoned Places

As the Internet continues to expand every day like the unstoppable behemoth that it is, all kinds of interesting hobbies and niches reveal themselves.

The rise of sites such as tumblr has given blogging a new lease of life, and although most people who use it simply reblog other’s pictures, animated gifts and motivational messages to bolster their own identity with an asinine need to project their personality, some tumblr pages gain fans simply by being dedicated to ridiculously niche topics.

Fancy looking at a collection of photos of various Goths up trees? Then check out No really, it exists.

Some tumblr pages that I have come across, however, do hold a genuine interest for me. One such blog is Abandoned Places, which is dedicated to photos and descriptions of various abandoned buildings and sites throughout the world. As well as relatively famous places such as Pripyat in the Ukraine or the Japanese Gunkanjima, local places to the author or those submitted by readers are also included. Abandoned malls, theme parks, hotels and other living complexes all make an appearance – dilapidated, crumbling, rusted and reclaimed by nature.

Rather than being presented in a morbid or fetishistic way, there is a genuine human quality to the writer’s approach - a revered and respectful tone, occasionally tinged with sadness for things that once were. Many of the photographs displayed are hauntingly beautiful – one that springs to mind is the abandoned theme park of Takenouma Greenland - shrouded in mist, its rusted rollercoaster tracks spiralling off and disappearing amongst overgrown trees.

In a lot of the cases it is not just how the places currently look, but the stories behind them that are the most moving. Why were they abandoned? Sometimes it is a specific tragic event –such as a natural disaster or an accidental death having occurred at the site. Other times it is simply to do with the march of progress and down to economic factors that these places are left behind. In a few cases the reasons are entirely mysterious.

With many of these places still resembling how they once were due to the sudden departure of the occupants - various items strewn about can also infer their own stories – hinting at past lives.

It’s not merely the bricks and mortar of an abandoned place that evokes feelings in us, but it is the absence of people (in places where it appears there should be) -and it's that strange void that gives us a feeling of unease and melancholy.

Human loss is a powerful emotion and in many of these places the feeling of their abandonment is palpable simply by seeing that which is left behind.

Check out Abandoned Places on tumblr HERE.

1 Feb 2012

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