Rediscovering our forgotten heritage
‘No Entry’; ‘Dangerous Site Keep Out’; ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted’: common sights on walls or perimeter fences around many of the world’s abandoned sites. These warnings allude to potential dangers and prove an ineffective deterrent against thieves and vandals. To the urban explorer/photographer these signs simply serve to whet the appetite for the promise of hidden wonders that may lie beyond.
For those who ignore the warnings and climb the fences, what awaits is usually worth the risks. Vast industrial spaces that feel more like an alien landscape or poignant residential settings, which are slowly surrendering to the inexorable advance of nature. Places once alive with sound and movement, now silent and still, but no less sensory. Immense and powerful beauty resides in these forgotten places.
For some, just getting inside a location to experience this alternative form of sightseeing is enough to satisfy a desire to simply go where one shouldn’t. But for some there is a need to capture the essence of a location in words and pictures, giving others a metaphorical ‘leg-up’ over the fences, to walk them through the remaining ruins.
Matt Emmett falls into the latter of these groups, travelling regularly to places in the UK and across Europe. He seeks out vast power stations and their cooling towers, steel works, mines, bunkers, tunnels, schools, engine sheds, hotels, castles and a myriad of other buildings. All have their own stories to tell in a variety of voices and without the distraction, sounds and people who inhabited them, those stories are clear and strong and the character of each location is laid bare.
Architectural Digest: « Photographer Matt Emmett has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries to capture epic imagery of Europe’s most forgotten ruins »
International Business Times: Matt Emmett’s ‘Forgotten Heritage’ photography project uncovers the brutal beauty of abandoned buildings and derelict industry