Where time stands still: Haunting beauty of abandoned mansions, shuttered asylums and deserted amusement parks across the world are caught on camera
- Niki Feijen visited eight countries in Europe over the course of a year and a half to complete his new book titled Frozen
- He relies on Google Earth to remotely scout possible locations before hitting the road to see them in person
- To avoid getting stranded in a decrepit old building, the photographer travels with a crew made up of 3-4 people
Dutch photographer Niki Feijen has criss-crossed the world looking for crumbling beauty lurking beneath a thick layer of dust inside long-forgotten buildings.
Feijen, who made headlines last year with his first self-published book of photographs titled Disciple of Decay, is now preparing to unveil to the world his latest project titled Frozen.
The new book, which is due to be released on September 17 at the Berliner Liste art fair in Berlin, features 184 pages of stunning interiors of abandoned mansions, mental institutions and churches from around the world.
Exploring decay: Dutch photographer Niki Feijen has traversed the world looking for crumbling beauty lurking beneath a thick layer of dust inside private bedrooms and public buildings
Globe-trotter: For years, the Dutchman has been traveling the world looking for boarded up buildings
Sequel: Feijen is now preparing to unveil to the world his latest project titled Frozen as a follow-up on his self-published book Disciple of Decay
Hallowed ground: Feijen has always been interested in religious spaces, such as deserted chapels and small churches that haven't been in use in years
Time lapse: This image shows what appears to be a deserted old movie theater with rows of folded chairs still in place
Phantom music: The keys on this dusty old piano clearly have not been touched for many years
In an email exchange with MailOnline Friday, Feijen revealed that it took him more than a year to scout and photograph scores of different locations in eight European countries, including Poland, France and Italy.
Feijen explained that most abandoned properties, especially those that are the worse for wear, are open, but walking around crumbling homes can be very dangerous, which is why the photographer always travels with an entourage of no fewer than three people.
‘If I would fall through a floor and get seriously injured I would not be able to alert anybody,’ he wrote.
The Dutch native also shed light on the hard work that goes into selecting the perfect location for a photo shoot, explaining that he relies heavily on Google Earth to pick out potential spots focusing on large properties that show signs of abandonment.
‘After that it’s just trial and error,’ he wrote. ‘Jump in your car and go check it out. About 20% of the places you find this way are indeed abandoned.’
While many of Feijen’s haunting photos of decayed ballrooms and hotel suites look almost staged, the photographer has insisted that he never brings any props or rearranges anything before taking pictures on location.
‘Trust me, my backpack with camera gear is heavy enough!’ he noted.
In all his travels, Feijen said that a certain abandoned hotel in Germany has made an enormous impression on him.
The inn had been ravaged by fire a few years ago, leaving it exposed to the elements. In one room, Feijen found a bed covered in a blanket of moss, while in another the intense flames had melted the light fixture on the ceiling all the way down to the floor.
‘As a result, the rooms turned into scenes which could come from a Tim Burton movie,’ Feijen said, adding that the hotel was demolished a few weeks ago.
Delusions of grandeur: This colonnaded ball room decked out in marble looks like it could be the site of a grand reception, if it weren't for the gaping hole in the roof
Just push play: The feeling one gets from looking at Feijen's images is that someone had pressed the pause button on life
Sacred spaces: Feijen's ideal shooting locations are ghost towns, insane asylums, dilapidated churches and castles frozen in time
Feijen explained that his fascination with deserted buildings first
started when, as a child, he became obsessed with a creepy abandoned house not far from his home.
passed it a zillion times until finally I had the guts to have a peek
inside,’ he recalled. ‘The adrenaline, the excitement. It was amazing.’
later Feijen was photographing rally races and rocks concerts when he
came across pictures of decaying buildings that reignited his childhood
passion for beautiful ruins.
about any paranormal encounters on his adventures, Mr Feijen explained
that while he is a ‘down to earthy’ guy and does not believe in ghosts, a
memorable photo shoot inside a grand old hotel has left him shaken.
said he had encountered so many strange things inside the building –
from doors slamming shut on their to inexplicable problems with his
camera equipment - that he was glad when he finally emerged from the
poignant and unnerving images in the Frozen series depict rooms that look as if
their inhabitants had just left, with pillows thrown carelessly on the
bed and bath towels still hanging from a railing over a tub.
derelict old mansions ravaged by time and debris-strewn hallways,
Feijen documented some more unusual spaces for his second book.
image shows what appears to be a deserted old movie theater with rows
of chairs still in place and vegetation peeking through open
image shows a weathered roller coaster covered in a thick layer of grime in
an abandoned amusement park, where the photographer also stumbled upon a
water slide overflowing with plants and draining into a chipped
blue-tile pool filled with standing rainwater.
Feijen has made a name for himself in the art world as a photographer specializing in Urban Exploration, or Urbex for short.
Journey into the past: Looking at these image, one cannot help but think that the owners of these personal items have just stepped out for a minute and will be right back
Water world: In his travels, Feijen has come upon this abandoned water park with a slide draining into an empty pool overgrown with vegetation
Ghosts of the past: A water park that was once crowded with happy children and parents has been reconquered by nature
Last stop: This roller coaster covered in a thick layer of grime has not heard children's terrified and joyful squeals in many years
years, the Dutchman has been traveling the globe looking for boarded up
buildings, decrepit chapels and family homes where everything is still
Frozen, one particularly unsettling and thought-provoking image shows
dusty old jackets and a woman's black leather purse hanging from hooks
in a foyer, and a pair of dirty slippers left next to a rusty bicycle waiting for their owner to come home.
The feeling one gets from looking at Feijen’s images is that someone had pressed the pause button on life.
His ideal shooting locations are ghost towns, long-shuttered insane asylums, dilapidated hotels and castles frozen in time and looking like at any moment their inhabitants will walk through the door and reclaim their personal space.
Crumbling beauty: Even though Feijen's interiors are being eaten away by time itself, much architectural and aesthetic beauty remains
Bleak: Some of the shooting locations look especially gloomy, like this image of what appears to be a deserted jail or a mental institution
Eerie: This vast bedroom still bears the marks of its previous inhabitants, with white pillows resting on the two single beds joint together
Cavernous: This dizzying image shows a view from the top overlooking multiple flights of concrete stairs
Worse for wear: Time has not been kind to this humble hotel room where everything is covered in moss and debris
Attention to detail: In this badly damaged bathroom towels are still hanging from a railing over a tub
While some of the interiors in Feijen’s photos have retained an air of grandeur, like the airy colonnaded ballroom adorned with marble, everything in sight has been touched by decay.
In 2010, Feijen ventured into the ultimate deserted location, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the Ukraine, where time stopped in 1986 after a deadly nuclear accident that resulted in a rapid mass evacuation.
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