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Niki Feijen's haunting images of abandoned houses

By dpreview staff on Oct 26, 2013 at 10:00 GMT
Haunting images of abandoned farm houses
1 3 4 5 6 7 16

Haunting images of abandoned farm houses

Christian symbols surround a bed in a decaying home. 

Via: Daily Mail, Source: Niki Feijen

Comments

Total comments: 219
123
Sordid
By Sordid (6 months ago)

I don't mind HDR when it's employed to cover more stops when that's really necessary. But these images here all look over-artsy in a forced way. It's totally overdone, unfortunately.

2 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (6 months ago)

What beautiful homes. I'm surprised they were all abandoned with the furnishings in them. More surprised that the furnishings are still there.

0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (6 months ago)

Other haunted architecture: derelict insane asylums. In the 1800s, Thomas Story Kirkbride convinced US state authorities to house the mentally ill in sprawling buildings that, from the outside, might be mistaken for Blenheim manor or even Versailles. The order, structure, and tranquility were supposed to pacify, if not rehabilitate, the deranged. Unfortunately, internment was often a one-way ticket to hell on earth. The institutions detained thousands for life, in conditions worse than frightful. New drug treatments made the mammoth facilities largely obsolete after the 1960s. But the decayed buildings persist as eery reliques. Various Kirkbride building photo galleries exist, though none seem to employ HDR. Very scary. Discretion advised.

0 upvotes
mpetersson
By mpetersson (6 months ago)

I have to agree with the people saying that HDR didn't really add anything in many of these images. It's a shame because many of the photos are really great in and of themselves, they don't need HDR to pop.

3 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (6 months ago)

HDR used not when really needed, but as an instagram-like effect like in this case makes the images boring and makes you wonder if the pictures are really worth.

2 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (6 months ago)

Some of these HDRs are overcooked. Some are not. Otherwise great.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
tomservo33
By tomservo33 (6 months ago)

Stunning, lonely....cold....but I cant help but lust after all the beautiful antique hand carved furniture that we 'humans' used to make and keep for generations...dust settles.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (6 months ago)

OK, I have finally finished through all 229 images. Are you kidding me? It is probably the best gallery of the decade. Sensationally good. What is better to document the decline of Europe?

I don't like HDR much, especially much HDR. But it is not about HDR or pixels - it is about the subjects, and they are sensational.

2 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (6 months ago)

I partially agree. The actual images and even more the subject are amazing.
But the result are completely overdone HDR pictures which, to me, fail to display any soul because they look so artificial.

1 upvote
Johan Josefsson
By Johan Josefsson (6 months ago)

#9, are some of the old church goers left around?

1 upvote
marclw
By marclw (6 months ago)

I'm not going to get into the HDR discussion, I use HDR techniques, but it always try to have my images reflect what I actually see with my eyes so that the image ends up as not "overdone." I search all over my area looking for abandoned buildings. I love shooting them and trying to capture the lives that once made those buildings vibrant. What strikes me is that it is extremely rare for me to find a place unsullied by graffiti and man made destruction. Europe must be very different from the states. I am envious...........
Marc

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (6 months ago)

Yeah, really. In the USA that furniture woulda been snatched up by crackheads 5 minutes after the people moved out.

1 upvote
Irata
By Irata (6 months ago)

HDR has its use. So does added grain. There's good and bad HDR, and good & bad grain. Artistic freedom, and it all comes down to personal preference.

Personally, with this series here, I don't think it gains anything from HDR. It takes the "calmness" out of these places by introducing visually distracting halos & shading.

A bit like colour & black and white photography...
Some images work better in colour, some better in black & white.

Ansel Adams mastered b&w
William Eggleston mastered colour.

Don't know anyone who mastered HDR (as in : knowing when to use it, and when NOT to use it – and how to use it in a subtle way so it ADDS to the image content rather then distract).

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (6 months ago)

"Don't know anyone who mastered HDR"

That's because anyone who has truly mastered HDR has the technique down to the point that you can't see it.

5 upvotes
sdribetahi
By sdribetahi (6 months ago)

The same anti-hdr people never seem to complain about too much added grain to the want-to-be 1960's b&w pretend Leica post work for street shooting. Funny, my eye's don't see grain when it gets dark either.

0 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

Take a long hard look at picture #3 and tell me that HDR didn't entirely ruin the lighting and the picture.

While silly, artificial grain never utterly destroys an otherwise fine picture in such a thorough way.

Without HDR it's a picture of light piercing through the darkness and revealing part of the mystery of what's inside the building...
With HDR, it's a picture of a pram, done in wacky colours.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
sdribetahi
By sdribetahi (6 months ago)

Carabas,

It's called art. Ever heard of that? It's an opinion that it's ruined? Do ALL pictures need to be done the exact same way. "well if he just did the way every picture should be done, blah, blah, blah." You can be a critic all you want, but don't stifle the creativity. It's like telling an artist he should have represented the scene a different way. He's probably tell you where you can shove your opinion and see if any light hits it.

0 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

My poor boy, you have no idea of what art is... just using "it's art" to justify anything, especially things that go exactly against the stated goal is intellectual dishonesty, or ignorance.

4 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (6 months ago)

I'm with carabas. Niki got carried away with his computing power.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
108
By 108 (6 months ago)

I expected the worst because I don't like HDR but in these photos it serves the purpose well I must say. I like the serie here although abandoned houses give me a very bad near-death feeling most of the time, with the exception of industrial buildings. Go figure.

0 upvotes
SMPhoto
By SMPhoto (6 months ago)

I think the anti HDR comments are beginning to take on a life of their own, like some weird feeding frenzy. Can if be overdone, certainly. It can even be done to the point of ridiculousness, but I just don't personally see that in most of these images. I didn't look at all of them, but of the first dozen or so, I'd say #3 with the stroller and #6, 7 and 12 have too much tone flattening. But most of the others, especially #4 and #10 are very well done. Any less on those images would have hidden too much of the image in shadows or blown out highlights to an unappealing point. If I would critique anything, it would be some of the staging. Some of the images look hauntingly realistic, others, especially #15 with the doll in the chair, come across too staged. I guess it's possible it was left that way, but seems improbable. Over all though, I find it pretty interesting work.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Irata
By Irata (6 months ago)

On #4, there's no need for HDR. 1 good exposure would have been enough.

You mention shadow detail: it seems that the way Niki processed this image, "shadow detail" was his least concerns. (Fair enough – this is very much down to the artists's personal preference).

Talking of #4: look at the halo around the shoes.
I wonder how much tone-mapping in these images is intentional, and how much is a random software result.
Take any high-detail image with lots of patterns and structures: automatic HDR-processing will be a lot 'easier' and forgiving. But STILL, the halos exist.

Back in the old days of film: if I gave any of my negatives to a professional printer, for them to be hand-printed for fine-art use, with some nice selective dodging and burning...
If the prints came back with these kind of random halos, or inaccurate D&B, I would *never* use that lab or printer again.

In real-world, non-technical terms:
Niki has a good eye, and some great compositions. But "badly printed" results.

1 upvote
SMPhoto
By SMPhoto (6 months ago)

Fair comments about the halos in #4. Honestly I was referring more to the overall tone mapping in terms of being realistic looking contrast as opposed to the "painterly" look of #3, and didn't really spend the time looking at the details. Also well made reference to dodging and burning, one of the more challenging things I learned to do in a B&W darkroom. However, I think having started photography in that setting, gives some of us that have been around the block so to speak appreciation for the fact that post processing image manipulation to increase the dynamic range of an image is nothing new, whether it be dodging in burning, water bath techniques, etc., so it alway makes me bristle a bit when some claim that a photo isn't "real" unless it looked like that on the back of the digital camera. Unfortunately, computers have given the ability to overcook things and cause a backlash.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (6 months ago)

I like the one with the radio. I guess because it's the only one that has a single definable subject. Remember that old acronym, KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid?

I think the reason why most of the images fail is because they are too busy. Your eye doesn't have a central figure to rest on and study because there's so much detail your brain is trying to make sense of the image, but too much information overwhelms it.

No doubt the tone-mapping is the culprit here. Most people confuse HDR with tone-mapping. A true HDR image is flat with little contrast because it's attempting to take a large dynamic range and compress it to a space that can only reproduce a limited range, hence the image loses most of it's contrast. The shadows and highlights are nearly the same luminance.

Tone-mapping makes highly localized adjustments and this is what makes the overly detailed look that some people lovingly refer to as "clown puke".

1 upvote
Sirandar
By Sirandar (6 months ago)

Love the pictures and don't mind the HDR effect at all ....

The pictures look staged though .... but that isn't too much a sin

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Ginger Snapper
By Ginger Snapper (6 months ago)

I also think that HDR has had it's day and these photos to me look Cartoon like and fail in capturing the sad reality of these abandoned rooms.
Because they look unreal, you stop wondering about the lives of the people who inhabited them and why they would have left so many of their possessions behind.

1 upvote
mrjpack
By mrjpack (6 months ago)

Cartoon? Nice jumping on the bandwagon, these photos are nicely done, a bit pre arranged, but nicely done all the same. There is a lot of jealousy out there from people who could not produce such good results...

0 upvotes
Ginger Snapper
By Ginger Snapper (6 months ago)

mrjpack, I always say what I feel, not what others are saying and the only jealousy I would have with these images, is that I never seem to be able and find somewhere like this to photograph myself.
My interest in photography is to record things, people and places before they disappear for ever and on that basis I stand by my comments on HDR used with these images.

0 upvotes
Bluetrain048
By Bluetrain048 (6 months ago)

Beautiful places, haunting atmosphere, expertly arranged. But sorry.. I really hate the processing. It looks like CGI or a computer game and I find it hugely distracting and unnecessary.

For what it's worth I spend a lot of my time exploring abandoned places, and for me, part of the intrigue is in producing images which allow the imagination to wander. I personally feel dark corners and hazy blown out windows (for example) beg the viewer to fill these spaces with their own meaning.

It's a bit like the vague fleeting sillhouette of a demon VS a dancing Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc.

3 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (6 months ago)

The think about so many violent comments here is the fact than DPR is a site of gearhead. Lot of people here have only passion for gears and very few of theme have any artistic talent.
So, they're very jealous of creative people.

5 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

What is wrong with you people, what kind of mentality is that ?

"If you don't have anything nice to say, shut the f*ck up, vermin !" ? Seriously, is that the kind of society you live in ?

How is that kind of mentality any better than the one you decry ?

1 upvote
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

Also, how does the indiscriminate use of HDR qualify as creativity ? A few years ago it may have been, but today it's art in a can, take a picture, push the sliders and voila, this is now surreal, spooky and "Art"... yeah right, just like a few years ago slapping Svarovski cristals on anything suddenly made it girly and premium.

It's the easy way, it requires little work or thought, it barely qualifies as an artistic endeavour, in fact it strictly adheres to the definition of kitsch :
- Inauthentic
- Aesthetically overburdened
- Tasteless
- Mass-produced
- Vulgar

5 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (6 months ago)

Carabas: First, let me say than I love your work :)
Second, Creativity is not a question of "big or little work", or new and old process. You can shot B&W, lomo, with a phone camera ect... and be extremely creative.
My post is not a "kind of mentality" but an ascertainment. Many people on DPforum only believe than they need the last new FF camera and the last technology for being a better photograph.
But, unfortunately for them, they don't have the eyes and the talent to be a real artist.
I believe than everyone have great quality on something, but not necessarily on artistic stuff.
So yes, for me, many posts here (like your second one) are just pure jealousy.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

Take a look at Feijen's previous work, he once used more than HDR to render his pictures, he found the processing most suited to the subject or the ambiance he wanted to convey.
You might argue that he was never quite subtle about his processes and that most pictures came out as overdone, but still, it was evident he spend quite some time thinking how to process each picture to obtain his vision, there was a clear intellectual work.

But now he has turned into a one trick pony... wide angle + staging + flat HDR almost done as a batch, that's the opposite of creativity.

Lichtenstein starting to use comic books as art, that was new, creative... Him and many others churning out the same thing over and over again, that wasn't creative anymore.

0 upvotes
Irata
By Irata (6 months ago)

@Miwok:
I've got a BA in photography, owned 4 different camera brands throughout my work life as a photographer, and don't really care too much about what kind of gear I use, as long as I'm satified with the quality I get.

One of *THE* most important parts of studying photography is image critique. And as long as the critique is constructive, I'd very much prefer that to not having any feedback at all. (Or just boring comments like "Great Shot", like we have it on FlickR most of the time).

It's other people's critique that takes a photographer forward.

But I agree with you – there's way too much 'violence' in some of the comments here. (See my post below, and the answer I received).
It sometimes makes me want to leave this community. On the other hand:
It's down to me to cherry-pick constructive comments. And I know that those people with 'violent' comments probably won't advance much with their photography anyway.

2 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (6 months ago)

Unfair. There are lots of DPR "heads" who have a fond appreciation of high ISO shots blown up to pixel level. They ponder pixel noise with all the high aethetic splendor of canines sniffing about a bush. Woof: purple fringe. Woof-woof: barrel distortion. Aaaaouuuugh: ISO 6400 and you can still read the brandy label. Wagging tail: ah, here's the spot to ....

Don't fault them, though, if they bite and snarl at anything else.

0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (6 months ago)

That's an easy kneejerk reaction. But I've seen better work from dpr members, including some that are very technical. I have more books of photos on my shelves than books about photography. Just because we come here to talk about gear doesn't mean many of us don't appreciate good photography.
Now consider the possibility that maybe the photography in question just really isn't that appealing. You're quick to jump on dpr readers for being too technical to appreciate it. And yet this photography was presented to us by the same gearhead dpr starff that does 30-page in depth reviews of cameras for our consumption. Maybe it's the dpr editors who wouldn't know good photography if it bit them. (I'm not seriously suggesting that; just pointing out the logical fallacy in assuming that if we don't like a photography, it means we lack artistic sense).
BTW, I will admit that I'm jealous of creative people. I just don't find HDR (or anything about this work) remotely creative.

0 upvotes
Peter Bendheim
By Peter Bendheim (6 months ago)

While I'm not normally a fan of HDR I think that it works very well with this series and adds rather than detracts to the overall feel of the images. Really good - would look great on huge enlargements I would guess.

0 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (6 months ago)

It makes the images a but surreal and almost fake, but it also is the only way to reveal the information and allow the viewer to see everything in the room. It's just not possibly to capture all of the detail in such challenging conditions without HDR. In a way, it lets us see the rooms as we would if we were there (where our HDR eyes do get to see into dark corners)

1 upvote
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

You have no idea how human vision actually works, do you ?

0 upvotes
Joe Pineapples
By Joe Pineapples (6 months ago)

"If I make derogatory comments about HDR, then I'll sound cool and everybody will think I know a lot about photography."

7 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (6 months ago)

Quotography?

0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (6 months ago)

"If I say that they're good and anyone who disagrees is a gearhead who doesn't understand art, then I'll sound even cooler everybody will think I know a lot about art."

0 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

"If I do HDR photography, then it will look cool and everybody will think I'm making art."

0 upvotes
Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (6 months ago)

This fake, overcooked, overprocessed look is so tiring I didn't even bother going through them all.

4 upvotes
mrjpack
By mrjpack (6 months ago)

Over cooked? Nice , just repeat all the parrot head comments made on this site. there is nothing overcooked about these images. They are a nice work of art, you should try it sometime, you may impress yourself...

0 upvotes
Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (6 months ago)

If these look natural to you, you need your eyes checked

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (6 months ago)

My opinion of this work vacillates to and fro like the pastie tassels of an exotic dancer; and this is not without some pleasure - it has caused me to reflect upon my own sensibilities and assumptions.

That said, I tend to think over-processing can drown out nuance, and HDR and similar techniques may well be the faux-wood paneling of our time. Still, I try to generally see technique as successful (or not) based upon what I extract to be the concepts underlying the work. There seem to be many comments directly stating or implying some expectation, a directive, of urbex. Perhaps there is something to this. Framed as urbex, these baroque scenes (with varying degrees of processing - not all overdone according to some roughed-in standard of taste) do present much more in terms of allegory or narrative then do many abandonments, simply hallow ruin. Do I believe these are to lesser or greater degrees (ghosts aside) staged? Yes. And this seems contradictory to the artist intent. But, regardless of issues of fidelity, I'll gladly take some pearls from the set. I like to get lost in them, and I forget the critical mind (thank god for these moments) - they are rabbit holes. It might also be responsible of us, in the critical role, to acknowledge that well regarded documentary photography from the past has not been without some controversy about being staged. Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, just to name two, have been accused in very credible argument as having staged a number of photos. And Lange even admitted to removing a distracting element in her iconic "Migrant Mother" image. So standards of the real, the true, have been the subject of much debate within photographic method for some time now.

And, yes, it is Halloween. I almost didn't consider this - embarrassingly.

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (6 months ago)

Self-acknowledged unnecessary and flagrant use of introductory metaphor; 10 yard penalty and loss of first down.

2 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (6 months ago)

HDR or not, I find these images very evocative. In the first image it appears as though the occupants simply dissapeared leaving behind their belongings such as the suit hanging on the wall. What happened to them, why did they leave? My imagination can fill in a few scenarios but would any of them be close to reality? Enjoy the images for what they are.

2 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

The comment secition never ceases to amaze me.
@dpr a suggestion: everyone who is criticizing/questioning you for posting a spooky photo series at Halloween: Ban them. Just ban the sh*t out of them. 2 week ban for being a grump.

Seriously- You have to be the most uninteresting, unlikeable, negative Nancy, stick-in-the-mud to look down your nose at a photography website for posting a series of haunted house photos at Halloween.

Where do I apply to be a dpr moderator/Grimm reaper?

10 upvotes
0MitchAG
By 0MitchAG (6 months ago)

Amen. Trolls, everywhere. I know a community full of grumpy old men but they certainly don't act like this!

2 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

Spooky spooky, I love it!
Happy Halloween DPR!

2 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (6 months ago)

Fascinating, but personally I don't really approve of entering someone else's home, whether abandoned for years or minutes. Someone does own these places.. Tempting to pop round his place while he's out..perhaps he is an estate agent too..

Personally I dislike the look of his HDR processing - too unsubtle - and I feel there are posed items, but I do like the composition etc.

And despite what I think about the ethics of it, I do think recording these places is a valuable job done.

1 upvote
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

Hi, my name is ashmills and I'm a total downer.

1 upvote
AshMills
By AshMills (6 months ago)

Hi, my name is samhain and I don't have anything to say.

1 upvote
billybones1918
By billybones1918 (6 months ago)

Hatred in art is a sign of good health; indifference is death.

1 upvote
farrellito
By farrellito (6 months ago)

I started to follow Niki's work two or three years ago -- he posted on Flickr. He has an amazing eye for color and composition, especially with architectural elements. It seems as though he relies on HDR more now than in his early works. I prefer the palette of his early stuff, but to each his own taste. One cannot deny that he is a talented photographer.

1 upvote
delta500
By delta500 (6 months ago)

It would have been better to create a few really creative images using people, props and creative lighting instead of repeating the empty space theme over and over again. Too much of modern photography reminds me of what the painter Robert Henri wrote in his book The Art Spirit: "Many artists learn to draw and arm or a leg in a certain state of action and use the same no matter how unfitting it may be to the subject in hand. - There are lots of people who can make sweet colors, nice tones, nice shapes of landscape, all done in nice broad and intelligent-looking brushwork. - There are some paintings, very remarkable for the skill they display, which are, however, a mere welding together of factors which belong to many different expressions of nature. Many a school drawing of this character have I seen held up as an example... and yet being but a mere patching together of many concepts - unrelated factors nevertheless cunningly interwoven - there is not in them that surge of life."

0 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (6 months ago)

Use your own imagination to put people in the empty spaces. You have an imagination, right? I hope. The beauty of these photographs is that they allow us to "fill-in" the missing pieces. Your suggestion would have destroyed that.

2 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (6 months ago)

@delta500 um... I don't know if you actually read the intro, but- it's a series about abandoned houses/spaces. Filling them with people, props and lighting is the opposite of what the photographer was going for.

But your more than welcome to show us all how it should've been done...

2 upvotes
delta500
By delta500 (6 months ago)

Akira Kurosawa said: ”No matter how much difficulty you had in obtaining a particular shot, the audience will never know. If it is not interesting, it simply isn’t interesting. You may have been full of enthusiasm during the filming of a particular shot, but if that enthusiasm doesn’t show on the screen, you must be objective enough to cut it.“ After viewing four or five of these photos I ask myself:” OK, he has established a theme and set the stage for - what? Another empty space photo, and another, and another…” Don’t just show me that you are good at taking photos of empty spaces. That is just the first step. Now show me something I haven’t seen before using these spaces. Tell me a story. Evolve. You have mastered the technique, now put it in your arsenal of techniques and do something truly original with it.

0 upvotes
thegreat26
By thegreat26 (6 months ago)

Well I started reading all those comments and I try to understand all this hatred and about hdr and especially about this artist which in my opinion serves the art of photography just fine. My dear friend artists were changing their photos a lot of years before photoshop or hdr efex pro and many more. Get over it the tools are there to use them and if you don't like what you see at least give some credits to the artist. As I always say I am not a photographer I prefer to consider myself as an artist.
Great job my friend great set of photos.

9 upvotes
Irata
By Irata (6 months ago)

HDR has its uses in certain cases. But I find most HDR images too "visually busy", mainly because of the artificial shading & tone mapping.
Looking at these images, my eye is constantly wandering around and can't relax.

Because of this visual overload, the actual image *content* gets lost in a way. For art, *content* should always be more important than *form*. (Form = HDR in this case)

According to the article, the photographer wanted to document these places. I yet have to be convinced that HDR is suitable for documentation.
The bed-linen in the first image is dark in the centre. Is that because it's stained? Or is it a HDR-halo?
Why is the marble at the fireplace brighter on the left than it is on the right, when the light comes in from the right?
If the artist uses HDR to sort of "stage" his images visually... then what else did he stage during the shoot?

Subconsciously, my brain keeps telling me: "this looks unreal", or "this can't be". And so I simply can't enjoy the images.

1 upvote
lkittle
By lkittle (6 months ago)

Because of the source of light, Stupid!

0 upvotes
Irata
By Irata (6 months ago)

Gotta love those 'gentleman comments'.

So, since you're so much more knowledgeable about light than I am: Would you care to explain what you mean with your elaborated answer?

The only light source I can see are the two windows on the right.
So WHY is that fireplace brighter on the left than it is on the right?
The way light works in MY 'universe', it should be the other way round, if anything...

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (6 months ago)

Look at the original series, what DPR chose is not even the best (for my taste obviously).
Look at this place
http://artofurbex.smugmug.com/Urbex/nf/27453304_k2WGwG#!i=2707420846&k=QcWNxqr

It is amazing. How come it is abandoned?! Local authorities should be forced to do something about that, not just wait until it disintegrates.
Or this one:
http://artofurbex.smugmug.com/Urbex/nf/27453304_k2WGwG#!i=2675833880&k=wM9Sp54

1 upvote
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (6 months ago)

DPR, how about when you publish an article about photohraphs, you actually make the photographs big enough to really study. Why only these dinky little images? Let us click through to large images we can actually view.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (6 months ago)

For pixel peeping? See the places, not pixels.

And you can always go to the source:
http://artofurbex.smugmug.com/Urbex/nf/27453304_k2WGwG#!i=2734862223&k=n8nKKPV

2 upvotes
lacroix75
By lacroix75 (6 months ago)

Great "art work" (not photos anymore) indeed !!!

1 upvote
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (6 months ago)

You're right. The recording media has its limitations. Some people have more imagination that what the equipment allows to record. That a problem?

2 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (6 months ago)

Great photo's of fascinating places. But did anyone else spot the ghost in picture 9?

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
viktoriskra
By viktoriskra (6 months ago)

Casper alert!

4 upvotes
Danlo
By Danlo (6 months ago)

Those enviroments are nothing but amazing! How in gods name does he find them? Some of them almost look like abandoned castles in Transylvania :) GREAT WORK!

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (6 months ago)

Very interesting!
Why the houses haven't been sold and renovated? Some look like they could have belonged to some pretty rich people, so could have cost good money.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

Those are pictures. You may, or you may not, like them. That is just fine. It is every ones right to have an opinion, and in the free parts of the world it is also every ones right to voice it.

It is also reasonable to question why DPReview shows them, if that is what you think. It might even be reasonable to question why the photographer spends time doing those (in your opinion) lousy pictures.

But the posts here go way beyond that. It is pure hate, against the art form and the photographer personally. "He should not be allowed to touch a camera again" - etc, etc, etc, ...

As you may have seen, I am one of those that likes some of the images. And there are actually other here that do. So, it seems like they have some kind of value after all.

My advice - do not tell others what kind of images they are allowed to take. And if you have some critique - be nice. Someone may dislike what YOU do.

10 upvotes
pfzt
By pfzt (6 months ago)

You are right and normally i'd say "live and let live" but HDR is such a backfired trend among photographers on every internet photo community, it has to be stopped or at least someone needs to explain how to do it correctly, because most of it looks just unbearably bad. Just like the pics in the article. They could've been such nice pictures without the HDR.

This kind of HDR is the equivalent of Engelbert Humperdinck in music :)

0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (6 months ago)

And some people actually like Engelbert.

The point, though, is that you should criticize the technique, not the person.

1 upvote
pfzt
By pfzt (6 months ago)

i only criticize the wrong use of HDR and it's disastrous popularity among amateur photographers and their online communitys. I admit it has been worse a few years ago but it's still pretty bad. HDR is far too often the wrong approach for capturing an atmosphere. I want encourage the photographers to think of something else and let HDR stay in your holster.

And i wouldn't dare to criticize Engelbert, he is an outstanding Singer and legendary performer but his style is just over the top kitsch and it sells his talent short. Same goes for HDR. That's all i'm saying.

0 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (6 months ago)

I don't see hate. Saying you don't like photos or HDR isn't hate.

1 upvote
scramblerman
By scramblerman (6 months ago)

I have a question for pfzt. If HDR is such a backfired trend on every internet photo community, then why is this comment thread showing so many supporters, myself included? "...it has to be stopped..." Give me a break.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

Shallow DOF. High key. Low key. Soft filters. Fish eye. Tele lens. Wide angle lensl ... Lots of techniques to change the image into something that do not look real.

Who is to judge what method is allowed?

0 upvotes
pfzt
By pfzt (6 months ago)

again, all i'm saying is that there are other solutions to capture an atmosphere, not everything has to be sharp, not everything has to be visible, not everything has to be well lit or illuminated. Just be creative and find other ways or learn to handle HDR in a non kitschy way and we're all going to be happy.

The pics in the article would've been a million better without the HDR, because everything else in them is pretty good but the cheap HDR with it's totally wrong colors ruins them for me.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Geedorama
By Geedorama (6 months ago)

I happen to have a friend (she's dutch just like me) who visited some of the places shown here..none of them looked like these pictures suggest. Being a little bit of an urbexer myself I can manifest there are some places (mostly in Belgium and germany) which are still furnitured (although in debris). The über-romantic pp-ing is something which is really becoming a cliché. Trying to ad a little gothic feeling to the images is not what urbexing is about if you ask me.

0 upvotes
hanhait
By hanhait (6 months ago)

I find the realistic/surrealistic atmosphere amazing. Just the shoe pairs in 5 and 15 too much remind me this is staged and cannot be real.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

I do agree. I also think he goes somewhat too far in staging. But, as it is quite obvious I think that is entirely up to him.

I have been at some photo exhibitions during the last year. And there have been lots of fashion photographers showing their photos, fashion or not. There you can talk about staging.

I have then also seen some surreal images that are impossible, but look super real. And with super real I mean more than real, i.e. unreal.

You can have opinions about that, and I do. But they are generally skilled photos and mostly interesting. So - if I met the photographer I would not hit him on the nose :)

2 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (6 months ago)

I did not know anybody wanted to hit him in the nose. Not liking these photos, HDR or staged photos is merely an opinion. It is okay you believe they are interesting but I find them dull. We all can't agree out here and what fun would it be if we did? Tastes vary.

2 upvotes
David0X
By David0X (6 months ago)

Come on - these images are great!
Forum HDR experts can hate all they like, but these are sensitive, beautifully constructed images. If you don't realise that it's an amazing feat to get these pics then that's too bad;
and reading a forum won't help you.

5 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

Staging (+ lies on location) + huge colorimetric PP work to make these pictures show an ambiance that wasn't what the photographer saw.

It might be a lot of work, it might be interesting, but it's not entirely photography and it's misrepresented as something it is not.

A Fiat 500 might be a great car for what it is, but if I add spoilers, paint it Ferrari red and try to sell it to you as a genuine Ferrari, it might appear a bit dodgy, wouldn't it ?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (6 months ago)

These pictures do not only look unreal - the settings in these abandoned houses are staged. There is absolutely nothing real about these pictures.

Sure you may like it, but I am on the other fence and dislike them for being unreal and staged.

5 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

If you want to understand what's ticking us off, it's that they are presented as photography when in fact they are (an attempt at) art through the use of photography, which may seem the same thing to you but which is entirely different (and none is better than the other, just don't misrepresent what you do).

In the former it's not the subject of the picture that is the actual subject, in a photography it's the composition, the lighting that are the actual subject, you are not photographing a person, a landscape, you are capturing a moment in light (and yes, some pictures here qualify).

In the latter, photography is only here to capture and enhance your work, photography is only a tool in the service of a subject.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

It is partly a semantic problem due to the fact that the word photography actually represents two things; It represents both the medium, the tool itself, and the specific art form making use of that medium.
However all things using the medium do not qualify as the latter.

Imagine if for all written forms we only used the word "writing", then poetry, literature and theater would be indiscriminately lumped with my grocery list because all were produced with the same tool, would that mean they are equivalent ?

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (6 months ago)

"There is absolutely nothing real about these pictures."

But they are still photographs, taken in cool places and with an eerie look to them.

Your accusation could be levelled at many different styles and subjects, fashion, macro, B&W, none of it is "real" but it's all photography and - to someone at least - it's art.

2 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (6 months ago)

To me, a photograph succeeds if it is interesting to look at. And the effect gets in the way. Before I see subject matter, I see cartoon colors. Maybe without the HDR effect, I could enjoy the compositions (constructed scenes don't bother me in the least; I'm intrigued by Julie Blackmon's photographs). I'm not sure they'd be great, but they'd be more interesting to look at.

0 upvotes
carrigman
By carrigman (6 months ago)

I've seen several photos of abandoned houses done in a similar style to this and I have yet to be convinced that there isn't a huge amount of stage management - placing objects such as pictures, statues and the like - even bringing them to the shoot in some instances - involved. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong in doing that - it's all for aesthetic effect - but suggesting that the scenes are "as found" stretches credulity to breaking point. I can't imagine anyone leaving so many items behind in their former homes and if they did they would have been robbed very soon after.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (6 months ago)

Potentially interesting but I find the HDR just to be overdone

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (6 months ago)

The HDRs are more spookier than the scenes.

The title should be: "How NOT to do HDR."

.

4 upvotes
Smeggypants
By Smeggypants (6 months ago)

Totally Fake. 1] Staged. 2] nauseous HDR . I'm not impressed in the slightest. had these scenes been taken in their natural state with a non intrusive processing then my oponion would totally change

2 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (6 months ago)

Certainly evocative and well done. Bit what in the world?

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (6 months ago)

Wonderful ... now this is the kind of article I like to see here! I greatly admire his photographic art.

6 upvotes
StevenE
By StevenE (6 months ago)

Wow, a lot of haters here.

These are great images, HDR or no HDR, set-up or no setup. Most of these HDR's are not overdone. I suspect some of the haters are just jealous, and have nothing in their portfolio that could stand next to these.

9 upvotes
Smeggypants
By Smeggypants (6 months ago)

I'm not a hater, I just don't like fakery.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (6 months ago)

what fakery? This is a fotografic style. Many urbex locations (well known among the urbex community) have been pimped. That doesn't mean its fake. It's an art form.

1 upvote
StevenE
By StevenE (6 months ago)

A photograph can never 100% accurately represent the scene. It is created only after a series of acts all of which change and interpret the scene through the technology, equipment, or judgement of the photographer. That's true whether digital or analog. A purist approach to photography is dead and worthless.

0 upvotes
Rich Niemeyer
By Rich Niemeyer (6 months ago)

Interesting images, HDR or not, but they for the most part set up photos. No one leaves that many artifacts in unoccupied properties. That should have been admitted.

1 upvote
bobbybrooks
By bobbybrooks (6 months ago)

Quite contrived. Some not even abandoned. Tsk, tsk.

0 upvotes
0MitchAG
By 0MitchAG (6 months ago)

Too good to be true ;)

0 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

"No one leaves that many artifacts in unoccupied properties."

Chernobyl: http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2067393_2268608,00.html

Fukushima: http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2064134_2264073,00.html

0 upvotes
carabas
By carabas (6 months ago)

Both abandoned in a hurry because of a nuclear disaster, which doesn't happen that often, also note that these pictures were supposedly taken "across Western Europe" and that neither of these places happen to be in Western Europe.

0 upvotes
StevenMajor
By StevenMajor (6 months ago)

Nice work...But sad to see the neglect and destruction of such nice things.

1 upvote
Total comments: 219
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