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.
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.
- Nikon D810
- AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
- AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G
- AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
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.