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2 September, 2007

The vanishing point

Though I've never seriously tried it myself, I've had an interest in 'urban exploration' (investigation of empty/abandoned public structures such as storm drain networks and old hospitals) for a while, so I was interested to read Geoff Manaugh's (long) interview with photographer/explorer Michael Cook for BLDGBLOG.

I was particularly pleased that Cook rebuffed the attempt to characterise his activities as having an environmentalist agenda, but he stresses that it isn't 'just' about the photography either (though I do feel the purely aesthetic aspect is more than strong enough to stand alone – stunningly beautiful work).

He slightly criticises media coverage of urban exploration and, implicitly, links such as this blog entry, as articles tend to be lazily superficial, treating the subject as merely 'weird' without really engaging with it. Personally, I do find it genuinely interesting, both conceptually and visually. I think I've always had a fascination with unregarded yet often spectacular voids in the urban landscape, many of which were once hubs of major activity, even extremes of human existence. That was somewhat boosted by online conversations I had a couple of years ago, after my (exterior!) photos of Lancaster's disused Moor Hospital were picked up by an explorers' forum.

[Via BoingBoing.]

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