Capturing Transience: Urban Exploration Photography

Capturing transience: urban exploration photography

Failed Architecture interviewed photographer Matthew Emmett about his fascination for impermanence, ruins, and engaging with the history of places

Urban exploration and ruin photography have gained enormous popularity in recent years. Naturally, Failed Architecture is interested in this trend, as well as in the increasing fascination with urban decay. In this vein, we talked to photographer Matthew Emmett, who runs Forgotten Heritage Photography, about the views and motivations of an urban explorer (although he prefers to call himself a heritage photographer).

Following the interview is a selection of photos Matthew kindly shared with us.

Can you explain why the places you photograph fascinate you?
There is a thrill in exploring an environment that allows you to step into a previously unknown world and discover something first-hand, taking your time and noting the details as you go. Having a camera with me allows me to prolong that thrill long after the building is gone. 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.


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