1. Where do you live and how long have you been into photography?
I live in Brantford, Ontario which is just west of Toronto. I've been into photography for probably 10 years or more, but I only got more serious about it in the last 4 years.
2. What gear are you using these days?
Primarily I use my Sony a7ii, Sony Zeiss 16-35mm, but I still use my Sony a6000 when I want to pack light.
3. How do you compare exploring in Canada to exploring in the US?
When exploring in Canada, I have found that abandoned places can be very far apart! So a day of exploring may involve lots of driving with few locations. In contrast with some American cities, you may find many abandoned places all less than an hour apart. So with a full day of exploring in an American city you can get to numerous locations which I like.
4. What do you like/dislike about exploring close to home?
I don’t dislike exploring close to home, but I seem to do it less and less! I am very passionate about travel and love to road trip to cities I’ve never been to before. There is something thrilling about coming to a new city and it's a blank slate, and you don't know what you are going to find.
5. How many times have you explored in the US and what we're some of your favorite cities/places?
Honestly I haven’t kept track of how many times I’ve been to the US to explore! Probably the city I’ve visited the most is Detroit and I stopped counting how often I had been after visiting 10 times. So Detroit is definitely one of my favourite cities to visit. I’ve been so often to that city because I love the community of photographers / explorers there. They have been incredibly welcoming to me since the beginning when I knew nothing of the hobby. And as often as I have been, I still haven’t seen everything! Another favourite city is one that I visited recently which is St. Louis.
6. What made you interested in photographing abandoned locations?
Well I have to be honest and credit instagram with that! I had been interested in photography for many years and took travel photos, but at that point I wasn't passionate about it like I am now. When I saw photos by @_bokat_ and @sloppystick of abandoned places, I was so intrigued by them and it lit a spark in me. I started photographing rural abandoned homes and was then invited by a friend to go to shoot abandoned places in Detroit shortly after and I've been hooked ever since.
7. What's the craziest thing you've seen when exploring?
When exploring, abandoned places can be typically found in the worst parts of a city. It's something that I've done so often now that I'm not shocked by much anymore. I've come across scrappers and homeless people to a group of teenagers wielding baseball bats!
8. Is there any specific routine you have or type of music you listen to on your way to a location?
No. On my way to a abandoned location I'm usually in the car with friends and I prefer to chat. My favourite people to explore with live far from me and I don't get to see them as often as I'd like.
9. What advice would you give to someone who wants to explore abandoned places?
It's cliche to say but it's really true: take only pictures, leave only footprints. I'd like to implore to people new to the hobby to be respectful of abandoned locations. All too often beautiful abandoned places are being destroyed so they can't be enjoyed by other photographers.
10. What software do you use and how would you describe your editing style?
I use Lightroom to edit my pictures. As far as my editing style, I find that dark and moody images inspire me and that style seems to show in my images.
11. What's the most important thing you've learned from photography?
That's a tough question! I've learned so much in the over the last number of years of doing what I do. I don't think I could pick just one thing I've learned. But firstly, I guess I would say be humble. I found out pretty quick when I started this that I knew very little. But the exploring community has been very good to me and other photographers have been more than willing to share their knowledge which I am thankful for. I've learned much from surrounding myself with talented people who regularly inspire me and push me to improve at my craft. Also, never stop learning. As far as I've come in photography I realize I still need to go further. Lastly, be open minded and don't set limits on yourself. If you want to pursue something, go after it. Years ago when I started this hobby I couldn't imagine doing the things that I've done. I've been to some incredible places and met amazing people doing something I love very much. I feel very thankful and know things can only get better!
12. What do you like to shoot aside from abandonments? Besides shooting abandoned places I love to shoot nature. Probably one of my favourite images that I've ever taken is a picture of my son in front of Brandywine Falls near Whistler, BC.
13. What interests do you have outside of photography?
Spending time with my family and loved ones and my dog. I love hiking. Also, because I'm on the go so much, I love watching movies in my down time and horror is my favourite genre. But what drives me the most is travel. When I get back from one trip I'm already thinking of the next. I'm planning trips for next year already! I'm just having a hard time deciding where to go!
14. Where can we see/follow your work?
You can see my work on Instagram, my handle is @_soliveyourlife_. I also post my images on Flickr and can be found under the same name _soliveyourlife_.
1. What’s in your camera bag these days?
Canon 6D, Canon 16-35mm f2.8, Sigma 50mm f1.4 ART, Rokinon 12mm f2.8 fisheye.
2. What's it like exploring in Australia?
It's hard, being a young country there isn't much history. A lot of places to explore get closed down quickly for development. You really need to travel to find gems these days.
3. How did you get interested in shooting abandoned spots?
I stumbled across @sloppystick and was fascinated by the locations he managed to find. His HDR work was insane. That's where I fell in love with the abandoned scene.
4. What kind of abandonment do you think is the best to shoot?
I like places with character. Hospitals, Theatres, Churches. There's so many stories the walls could tell..when walking through places like this, you get lost in your imagination..
5. What's your favorite thing to shoot aside from abandoned places?
I love the underground scene and rooftops. Train tunnels always make for a good shot and rooftops are pretty self explanatory. I also don't mind a bit of portrait work or just general urban... but I always try to make my captures a lil grim..
6. What are the best and worst things about living in Australia?
Australia is a clean, safe and beautiful country. But it is very widespread so getting from one place to another is always a hike, it's quite expensive too, even for us locals.
7. Have you been to the US? If so, what was your favorite place? If not, where would you want to go here?
I love New York. I only wish I was into photography a lil more when I went there several years ago. Would love to visit Detroit and check out the abandoned scene over there.
8. You have a massive following on your feature page @allabandoned. How did that come about?
IG is all about networking, it's a goldmine if you know what you are doing with it. There weren't many abandoned pages floating around so it took off quite quickly..
9. What kind of advice would you give someone who is trying to start a feature page?
Network with other hubs, get a hashtag trending for yourself and interact with the community. All the activity draws attention to your page.. content is key though. Quality images and regular posts, just don't over do it.
10. Everyone loves that creepy ass mask you have. What gave you the idea to start using it in your shots?
I saw a guy once use a creepy mask in an abandoned location...I loved the concept so tried to find the creepiest clown mask available..and I did.. it has worked wonders for my page lol.
11. Do you have any other hobbies/secret talents?
I love to play soccer, but I also used to rap...I still write from time to time to get thoughts out of my head..there's alot going on up there..
12. Who are your musical influences?
2pac, Wu-Tang, Big Pun, Eminem, Tech 9, plenty of others but those come to mind first..
13. Where can we follow you and your work?
Find me on IG @susqect I don't have any other social media at the moment..
1. What equipment do you use and how do you edit?
I'm still rocking the lil Sony A6000 with the 10-18mm for most of my urbex shots. Lightroom is what I work with for 95% of my editing, with a little photoshop, and occasionally add some finishing touches with the mextures app.
2. Did you start shooting photos or exploring first?
I've shot and admired photography since I was young, but only took it serious when I started exploring maybe about 5 years ago now.
3. Have you always lived in the Bay Area?
I've been in the Bay for close to 10 years, but grew up in Sacramento CA.
4. What are your biggest obstacles when exploring in your home area?
Oh man, the dwindling abandoned landscape! CA is such valuable real estate, nothing sits idle too long or unguarded. Most of the great stuff requires a daybreak explore or other "creative" means.
5. What are your favorite types of abandonments, why?
My favorite abandoned locations are probably old churches, love the architecture. Industrial is another favorite. Factories and the like, that were at one time important in the growth and development of our society, is fascinating to me.
6. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened when you were exploring?
The craziest thing I've come up on is probably in a Beverly Hills mansion with @b4_flight. This dude was hiding with a club in his hand. Figured there was two of us and he had no more business being there than we did, so I just let him know we were going to be taking a few shots and leave. He was cool. Other than that, nothing much except a one-time baby skunk rescue, where @justinjenny gets the credit for the dirty work.
7. Do you prefer to explore alone or in a group?
I explore alone or with just a couple other people that are solid to me. Can't do big groups lol.
8. Aside from abandoned buildings, what’s your favorite thing to shoot?
When I'm not exploring, I love to shoot cars. Whether they are lowriders hopping or high performance rides swinging, as long as they are tearing it up I'm with it.
9. Have you ever been hit by a car or hassled by the police when shooting a takeover (when cars take over an intersection and do donuts until the cops come)?
I have not been hit thank God but I am sure to stay on my toes. Photography is easy to lose yourself in trying to get the perfect shot so I am mindful of that drivers I trust etc. No issues with the PD I'm good with blending into the environment.
10. If someone visits your area, what’s the best place you can recommend for food?
This is clearly a @sloppystick question lol. Bay Area is so rich with diverse dining. I recommend Golden Boy Pizza, El Gran Taco Loco, Gorilla BBQ. Too many to name. Hit me up for info…
11. Where do you want to visit next?
I'm visiting Texas next but would love to get back to Detroit before the end of the year. Abandonment is still great out there as well as some great folks there I love. It has a similar vibe to Oakland. I feel at home.
12.How can we keep up with you?
1. What’s in your camera bag and what do you use for post-processing?
I shoot with a Nikon D810 and Tamron lenses. Currently I shoot with the 15-30mm 2.8 and the 24-70mm. I use Adobe Lightroom for the bulk of my editing. I use Photoshop sometimes to reshape the photo or reduce noise if needed.
2. At what age did you start shooting, and what got you started?
I dabbled with film cameras 20 years ago when I was in high school, but nothing serious. I got a DSLR as a gift, it was an old Nikon D70, 6-megapixel. After it sat around for a few months, I picked it up and never put it down, that was 3.5 years ago. That was the beginning of the addiction.
3. I know you’ve done a ton of traveling. What country or US state has been your favorite for abandoned buildings?
I would say hands down my best experience for exploring abandoned buildings was St. Louis, MO. Also the abandoned Petite Ceinture railway in Paris was amazing, even though it is not an abandoned building.
4. What’s your dream location?
I would love to go to Germany and explore some of those abandoned buildings but I definitely would want to get friendly with some locals first so they could get me in to all the good spots. (wink wink)
5. Abandoned locations are few and far between in your area. How do you usually find them?
I find a lot by walking around downtown with my camera and seeing what kind of opportunities arise. Jacksonville downtown is 60% vacant, so there are plenty of abandoned buildings, but most of them have no character because they are too new.
6. What do you like/dislike about exploring in Florida?
I would say I hate the heat, both from the sun and the police... and the flesh eating mosquitos ain't no joke out here.
7. How would you describe the urbex scene in North Florida?
Actually I try to stay away from most of the people who consider themselves part of the scene here, I am 43 and a lot of these kids do a lot of stuff I don't agree with and get spots busted real quick. I try to keep my circle small with the few good homies I trust and shoot with, and keep the drama low.
8. What other types of photography are you into?
My main passion has to be shooting live bands and concerts which I have been doing for a few years for a couple media outlets. I have been lucky enough to shoot almost all of my favorite bands and it has been like a dream. Landscape of course I will always love, and nature. But ultimately I'll shoot anything you put in front of my camera if I think it looks cool. I try not to limit myself to one thing because I do get bored after awhile.
9. What are you doing when you’re not shooting?
Hanging out with my family and my 1st child, baby Zayne. He rules my world. I guess you can also say cooking is one of my hobbies or eating gummy bears and laying on the couch doing nothing. Plus, I own and operate Consignment City Marine which is a boat dealership out here in Jacksonville, FL.
10. What’s been your favorite destination so far?
Nothing to do with abandoned buildings but we went to Iceland in October 2016, and I have to say it was one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. Even though I tried getting the Northern Lights every night and failed, it gives me a reason to go back.
11. A lot of your photos have a dark feel to them. How did you develop this style and what would your advice be to someone who’s trying to find their own unique style?
Honestly that is the way I have always done my photos and it might have something to do with my life being so dark the last few years due to my father's death and a few other things. Trust me if I was happy as a clown I would be posting rainbows and unicorns. My best advice to find your own style is to NOT try to find your own style, but keep shooting and things will fall in to place eventually. Also, be a fan of photography and support your friends, but don't ever try to emulate someone else's style too much.
12. Has fatherhood changed anything about your photography?
Well its made me want to post baby pictures every other day, but I won't do that to my followers. I'll just flood my instagram story with them, as some of you may know. LOL Obviously the freedom to go shoot and stay out late every night is less frequent, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
13. Will Zayne play a song on a guitar or shoot a picture in full manual first?
What do you mean? He is already dropping bangers and playing Stairway to Heaven backwards. Nah, I'll be happy with either one of those, but he's definitely going to be exposed to as much arts as I can possibly show him. My wife is a professional cellist, and I have been playing guitar most of my life, so there is a good chance he will be a musician before anything else.
14. What do you have coming up? Any new equipment you’re waiting on, locations to visit, or will you be showing your work?
I am showing/selling my work currently in a few local restaurant galleries. I do plan on a trip to Utah or the desert in the next year or so. I've explored a lot abroad but I feel like I've neglected my own country because there is so much to see. Plus I have been waiting to shoot the Milky Way with no light pollution for the first time and Utah seems like the spot. As far as equipment goes, the only thing I really need is the 70 - 200 2.8 to complete my trinity of lenses. That will have to wait until I decide to give myself a Christmas bonus.
15. Where can we follow your work?
Tinder. HAHA jk.
Instagram - @matt_bluejay.
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mattbluejayphoto/
George, 14 - Kansas City, MO
1. What equipment do you shoot with, and what software do you use for post-processing?
About 6 months ago I upgraded from a Nikon D3300 to a Canon 5d mark IV, and I'm very happy with that decision because the full frame sensor now allows me a lot more opportunity in low light spots. The lens I use in all my abandoned photos is a sigma 12-24 F4 art which I really love because the extremely wide angle allows me to get unique angles and really show how big some places can be. I use a Yomei carbon fiber tripod as well, and I also have a sigma 50mm F/1.4 which i use primarily for portraits. For editing, I use Adobe Lightroom!
2. How long have you been into photography and what got you started?
I really got into photography from exploring around the city with my dad and taking photos of the weird stuff I'd see with my phone. I started realizing that taking photos and exploring stuff I wasn't normally exposed to was something i really enjoyed, so for my 12th birthday in 2015 I got my first camera, A nikon D3300.
3. Do you have a favorite photo that you’ve taken?
Yes! Well i have 2, actually. The first one was a photo I took of a beautiful pool in an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Kansas City. I really like the angle i got of it and it always interests me every time I look at it. My other favorite photo I've taken was of an Abandoned church with beautiful woodwork and I think the architecture in it is amazing.
4. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen when shooting an abandoned location?
I have definitely seen a lot of crazy things exploring I never expected myself to see. I've only had a few instances where I have been caught but they have all ended up going well. I've also had my fair share of running into people such as scrappers or homeless people but they have all been calm for the most part, especially if you let them know you are just taking photos. I think my craziest encounter would have to be being chased out of a school by 3 very large dogs or running into 2 seemingly calm but still startling pitbulls that were in a room of an abandoned Bible College, but luckily both ended up fine!
5. Are people surprised when they find out how old you are, considering how good your work is?
I think a lot of people are surprised not necessarily by the photos I take but more the fact that a kid would be going into Abandoned buildings for enjoyment. I have definitely had people surprised I take photos at my age but I think thats just because it's not all that popular within my age group, but hopefully that changes.
6. What do your parents think of you going exploring at such a young age?
My dad actually takes me exploring a lot of the time! He isn't as big into photos or social media, but he loves old buildings and a good adventure! I probably would not be doing this interview right now if it weren't for my dad as a matter of fact. My mom also knows I explore and she definitely isn't fond of it, but she also doesn't mind. She just prefers not to hear about it hahaha.
7. What’s your favorite part about exploring abandoned buildings?
I'm a very curious person, so when I see a place that looks like people just left it, I'm always curious to figure out why. I love looking at places and imagining what it would have been like when it was active. But overall my favorite part is just the rush it can give you and how you never know what is going to happen.
8. How would you describe your style?
I'd say my style is trying to have a lot of detail in one photo, so you can look at it for a while and not get bored of it. I also like to keep a fair amount of color in my photos to make them pop, but not too much color, just a good balance.
9. Who/what are your biggest influences?
There are honestly way too many to count, every photographer I follow on Instagram definitely motivates me, and each one has a really unique style and it is very hard to compare them, but I'll name just a few off the top of my head! @Matchupee @Sloppystick @babybulll @Frantastic420 @svvvk @benjihultsch @_bword @Pimpmycamel @liam_tansey @stormfritzphotography, @n.cwade, and many many more.
10. What do you do besides photography?
I also really love climbing, which often helps with exploring. I also love diving, swimming, hiking, biking, eating food, and playing Xbox!
11. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about photography/exploring so far, and what would be your best piece of advise for someone your age just starting out?
If I were talking to someone who is interested in exploring, the first thing I would tell them is to do their research and understand what they are doing. Knowing how to be respectful of a spot makes it not only easier for you but easier for everybody else who wishes to explore it. It is also important to know the inherent risks that exploring abandoned buildings possesses and to know what is safe enough to do and not. Exploring can push you out of your comfort zone which is a great thing but it's also good to know what has too high of a risk and not as much of a reward. This is a personal choice but I'd also recommend not carrying anything that could turn a simple trespassing ticket if you are caught into a felony, and in the case you are caught, being respectful and informing whoever catches you that you are simply taking photos can go a long away, at least in my case.
12. Where do you hope to go next?
In terms of exploring, my current list of places I wanna go are Philly, NYC, St. Louis, and anywhere in Europe
13. Where can people find out more about you and/or follow your work?
My work can be found on my instagram @kalibration!
1. Habibi, what is your name and where are you from?
-My name is Ramy and I was born and raised in New York City.
2. What is your current weapon (camera) of choice?
-I shoot with a Canon 6D
3. So what made you get into photography?
-Three years ago I started exploring abandoned buildings. At first I was exploring for the thrill. Slowly I started taking pictures with my iphone and posting it on instagram. I got a lot of positive feedback and most were advising me to buy a professional camera. The love for photography has always been instilled in me. I always found myself playing with my phone camera nonstop taking pictures of random things.
4. Do you have a specific lens that's your favorite to shoot with?
-Canon 16-35mm it's one of the most versatile lenses I have ever used and I highly recommend it now that the L3 is out.
5. What are your top 3 favorite locations that you have shot?
-Abandoned Train Trollies
6. Aside from shooting, what are some of your other hobbies?
-Playing Video Games
7. So word on the streets is that you own a camel, is this true?
-Lmfao it is indeed true... I own a camel in Egypt!!!
8. Speaking of Egypt, I remember seeing your story of a crazy mansion you explored out there. Tell us about that experience.
-It was a old home in Egypt called Baron Palace and the history behind it made me fall in love with the idea of exploring it. I remember doing a massive amount of research and also hitting up local explorers to find out more information about the Baron Palace & if it's possible to explore it. Everyone I asked literally told me that it wasn't possible because the palace is protected by the government. After talking to a few higher ups and pulling a few strings I managed to tour the beautiful palace. It was a time I will never forget. The dark history combined with great memories makes this place one of the most favorite explores of all time.
9. What's your scariest moment you've had in photography yet?
-Getting chased out of a abandoned building by security & police lmao.
10. If you could go to any location in the world tomorrow to shoot, where would it be?
-I would definitely choose Japan. They have some of the most epic abandoned structures in the world.
11. Do you ever lose interest in photography, and if so, what are some thing's that motivate you to shoot again?
-I never really lose interest in photography but I do find myself losing confidence in my work. It's something that I have really been trying to work on as a photographer.
12. Are there any photographers that you look up to or inspire you?
13. Any advice for the younger photographer/ urban explorers out there?
-Always be one step ahead creatively and don't worry about other photographers / urban explorers and what they have to say. Try to network and shoot with others ever opportunity you get without getting involved in any drama. At the end of the day photography is a competition and you have to go out there and bust your ass if you want to make a name for yourself.