It's now been over ten years since I first started participating in this hobby known as urban exploration. I never expected to explore as many locations as I have. First driven by curiosity, then the history, and then as my skills with a camera progressed it became more and more about the photos. Of course this was long before Instagram and Facebook. Likes and Followers didn't mean anything because they didn't exist. I explored because it was fun. I explored because it satisfied that need inside of me to see the unseen. That sense of discovery, and the idea of preserving pieces of history that would soon end up in landfills; that's why I did it. For a long time the only way you could see photos from urban explorers was on sites like UER and maybe a Live Journal group or two. Most people weren't exposed to the hobby. When I would tell people about what I did it would often be met with a look of confusion and the occasional disgusted 'why?!' Some people understood it, and some didn't. Not that any of it mattered. I explored for me.
These are a few of the photos that I took during my early years as an explorer. I tried to choose the least terrible, which was a challenge because apparently I was pretty awful at taking photos those first four or five years.
Miles Road Drive-In - Demolished
Trinity Building a.k.a. Monarch Aluminum - Demolished
Kase Machine - Demolished
Jaite Papermill (my first abandoned building) - Demolished
Ypsilanti State Hospital - Demolished
Quincy/Woodhill Educational Facility - Demolished
Madonna Hall Nursing Home - Demolished
Rugby Hall Apartments - Demolished
Beaver Falls China Factory - Demolished
Eveready Battery Factory - Renovated
Stanard School - Demolished
Columbus Coated Fabrics - Demolished
Imperial Electric - Demolished
St. Luke's Hospital - Renovated
These days urban exploration has become pretty main stream, and just like most previously underground communities, it has it's fair share of tourists, narcissists, and elitists. I know some old school explores are irritated by this, some have given up exploring all together, but not me. I think exploring your surroundings is healthy, and I'm glad to see it getting the attention that it deserves. Sure I could do without some of the self obsessed explorers, those that treat the hobby like a competition, the ones that blow up spots; but it won't slow me down. I love this hobby and even though I go through phases where I might not get out much, I don't think I'll ever give it up entirely.