The Guardian Observer did an article this weekend titled "Why do images of abandoned Japanese island Hashima haunt us?"
It seems to be about the freaks who go into abandoned buildings and take pictures, and why they do it, but doesn't really do much to answer that question beyond saying that "there is something paradoxically beautiful, not to say seductive, about decaying buildings."
He also asserts that 2011 was the "tipping point... when a curiosity turned into an obsession" and the fetish of exploring abandoned places has since "grown into an online subculture, where newly discovered abandoned places are constantly photographed and the results shared via websites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter." For me, at least, and probably for any freak that reads this, exploring abandoned places has been an obsession for a lot longer than that, and I have been part of numerous online communities devoted to doing it for a lot longer than any of those social media sites have been around.
In the end, the author seems to settle on the idea that photographs of modern ruins "allow us to look at, even surround ourselves, with the traces of decay and desolation, without actually experiencing the human cost.... But it is the people that left who are the real context for these photographs. Without that human context, they are just bleakly and romantically beautiful, visually seductive but empty of real meaning."
It is a fact that there are a lot of people interested in pictures of abandonments these days, and maybe for some of them, those sentiments ring true, but it doesn't even touch on why I get off on it. I search out places like this and spend time in them because it is one of the only ways that I know to step outside of the strictures of modern day society. You can find yourself in an abandoned building that has been left behind by the world around it, sometimes just tens of feet from a bustling street filled with people who seem to be completely blind to the existence of the place, that from their point of view, serves no purpose and might as well not even exist.
It is a comforting feeling to me to be in a place that doesn't exist. Everyone should try it from time to time.
Oh, yeah, and they used one of my shots of Gulliver. I believe that it even went out in print in the UK in the New Review supplement.