Monday, January 28, 2013

About to Commit a Crime and Proud: Urban Exploration

Monday, January 28, 2013
This is something that I feel I need to share with a larger audience, so lend me your ear..or, rather, your eye (and if you're wearing glasses, juts like me, you earn a Brownie for reading this; claim in the comment section). This post is about why urban exploration is wrong.

Let's first agree on terms:

Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. Photography and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in the hobby and, although it may sometimes involve trespass onto private property, this is not always the case and is of innocent intention. Source:

Chernobyl, Ukraine. 2012 November. Own photo.
I have recently met people who refer to themselves as urban explorers. They get their share of adrenalin and feed their curiosity when they visit derelict places and take photos, which they later share. It's a popular hobby, no doubt about that. I do find it strange that derelict places are attractive to people but then again my passion for taking photos of apple blossoms might be no less weird and troubling to some other people. Yes, I know, WHO on Earth takes photos of apple blossoms, for Chrissake? 

I am for freedom of speech. I am for freedom of the press. But one must understand where the fine line between freedom and anarchy lies and this is the hardest part. I have absolutely nothing against neither urban exploring per se nor people who do that, it must be exciting and worthwhile to document the ruins. I am a coward and I am not afraid to admit it: there are things that put me off urban exploring as I have come to know it:

I am against destruction of property: removing safety nets, for example. I respect work of the people who put it up in the first place.
I am against stupid risk of one's life: entering places through roof-holes, for example.
I am against different methods of illegal entering: if there is a lock, it's LOCKED, obviously. And I don't care if you restore the lock afterwards. 

They try to justify their escapades by "people have the right to know" and "we have to shame the owners of dilapidated buildings". I say onto them- Robin Hood happened once, ages ago, and on an island, so let's leave justice to those who have to observe it- the police, for example. They said I was "disappointed in life" and that it's not worth paying attention to what I say. Am I the only one who's missing the connection between my miserable private life (yeah, look at the amount of time I spend on blogging that I could spend...erm...doing exactly what?) and trespassing? 
I am not a saint. I have a folder of private photos from my trips that will never see the light of day because I am not 100% sure it's all right to show them for some ethical reasons. Being a journalist (and a blogger is a journalist) obliges one to think what one posts.

So, claim your Brownie now.

Have you ever done urban exploration?

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