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UrbEx Photographer Explores Some of Europe’s Abandoned Places During 22k Mile Road Trip

By Hanssie on June 28th 2015

Child Dream

Child Dream

Ever since he was a teenager, Franco-German photographer David de Rueda has practiced urban exploration. Traveling on adventures to seek abandoned places forgotten by society, Urban Explorers live by the philosophy, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.” De Rueda has a unique ability to bring to life mysterious, unusual places and “capture the aesthetic beauty of derelict buildings.” For these reasons, Nikon chose de Rueda to participate in Project Spotlight, which finds photographers that are pushing the boundaries and help them with their dream project. Says de Rueda,

Nikon challenged me to create and complete my dream photography project, with my own imagination being the only restriction. This was an opportunity to challenge myself and push my urban exploration photography to another level. For me, the abandoned places of Europe’s recent past were an obvious choice. I see discovering the hidden side of such locations as a kind of modern archaeology that, when coupled with the artistry a photographer can bring, should capture the imaginations of many.

Lost in Space

Lost in Space

[REWIND: BRINGING $30,000 OF GEAR TO AN ABANDONED ASYLUM| PROJECT SENIUM]

For six weeks and 22,000 miles, de Rueda toured some of Europe’s long forgotten places, locations rarely seen or photographed. The road trip covered nine countries, focusing on places abandoned during the Cold War Era and the former Soviet heartland. De Rueda took Nikon to explore prototype Soviet Buran spacecrafts in an abandoned warehouse hidden in the desert; Chernobyl and the ghost town of Pripyat; Iceland’s coast which holds the forgotten wreckage of a Douglas DC-3 aircraft –  just to name a few.

From Paris to Milan to Kiev to Pripyat (Chernobyl), Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallinn Budapest, Sofia, Reykjavik, Kyzylorda (Kazakhstan), Larnaca (Cyprus) and finally ending in Paris, de Rueda photographed some of these places in a way that they had never been seen before. Sometimes hiking for miles in knee deep snow or blazing hot desert, these haunting images reminds us of places long forgotten, yet still in existence, silent but eerily beautiful.

Sun Dust

Sun Dust

Suspicious Paths

Suspicious Paths

High Frequency

High Frequency

Nuclear Fall

Nuclear Fall

Gear List

Watch Go Beyond What You See: Urban Exploration at Its Best by Nikon Europe

See more of David de Rueda’s stunning images on the Nikon’s PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: ABANDONED PLACES MEDIA GALLERY here.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon Dewey

    Wow! Awesome Images!

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  2. Hannes Nitzsche

    Amazing work! I envy David for being able to see and experience these places… this must be such a rewarding experience!

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  3. Jesper Ek

    Simply stunning!

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  4. Tom Johnson

    Love the space shuttle shot, this is great photography! People all the time talk about how their images tell a story, yeah right. Photography like this however, is so captivating and intriguing you cant help but wonder whats going on.

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  5. Jay Trotter

    I’m fascinated with “abandoned” photography myself. This photographer has done a terrific job and has considerable skill in taking the photo to the next level.

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  6. Ralph Hightower

    Buran? I’m jealous!

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  7. Colin Woods

    These kinds of pictures are so good. Is there really an abandoned Space Shuttle in the desert? We broke into Spreepark in Berlin a few years back and got some good shots, but it’s a bit nerve -racking. Respect to these photographers who get into really secret locations, not just an abandoned German funfair.

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