“ Nothing is as beautiful as urban decay. Enjoy a gallery/adventure focused on forgotten buildings of the past. „
What happens to a large building like a hospital when it is no longer useful? Often the patients and staff are just moved out and the building is left to rot and decay, sometimes with the majority of the equipment and furnishings left behind. They are left to the vandals and arsonists .and the urban explorers. Urban explorers find a beauty in these buildings and brave the security systems, sagging floors, toxic moulds and any supernatural phenomena to photograph these places before they are torn down and lost forever. Urban exploration is a hobby for most; they loosely follow a code which encourages minimal intervention, limited damage and to take only photographs. There are many urban exploration websites, often dedicated to just a single site, but this one is one of my favourites (you can skip the blurb and read the rest of my list at the bottom of the review) as it features so many. ---------What is Opacity?------------- The website opens onto the [News/Main] page which details all the latest additions to the site, some select photos and the newest posted comments. This is a good introduction to the site, as with 70 locations covered choosing where to start can be a bit of a challenge. I scan until I find an interesting photo or new comment and start from there. At the bottom of the page is a little section about the site from the owner/photographer/explorer : Mr Motts, explaining how and why the site is operating. Underneath this is a series of hyperlinks to each of the documented locations. At the top of the page are the links to other sections and the next one along is [Locations]. This one lists all 70 locations in a well set out and easy to use design. Each location has a small photograph, a few sentences describing it, the flag of the country it is located in and links to its main page or just to the photo galleries. If you click one of the links you get a larger picture of the building, a précis of its life and usage, links to its photo galleries underneath and then any newspaper articles connected with the site. Clicking on the photo gallery picture brings up a page with all the pictures in thumbnails so you can pick the picture you want; or you can click the first picture and work through the slideshow in your own time. Underneath each full size picture are the comments posted by the visitors. Some of these comments are really interesting and offer extra information from those who worked there or in similar places. Other commentators are less interesting and often focus on the spooky nature on some of these pictures, which for someone with an overactive imagination (like myself) are best skimmed over! The locations include asylums and hospitals in the UK and America and other sites such as: Ryhope Pumping Station Margate State School Studebaker Stamping plant Eagle River Power Station Rocky Point Amusement Park Benedict Street Jail Staten Island Boat Graveyard Rochester Subway Mr Motts has a real talent for photography, an eye for a good shot and some of these are absolutely excellent. With other urbex websites the pictures are shot hurriedly by those with limited skill, whereas these are beautifully composed and really reflect the character and atmosphere of these places. Sadness pervades these places and is the overwhelming emotion felt when viewing these pictures; people lived out their lives in these places, worked there for years and their traces are an integral part of the buildings, whether it be a lone slipper, a piece of artwork or simply a rota on a wall. Some of the pictures are really creepy and send a shiver up your spine, the sort of shot you would associate with horror movies. Good examples of these are Gravesend and Northwood Asylums, especially the black and white shots where you dont want to look too closely in the shadows! Others are more reminiscent of apocalyptic films, a broken and destroyed future, mainly because of the more modern style of the buildings and often a more recent abandonment e.g Kings Park Psychiatric Centre. No less creepy though! They all demonstrate a fascinating picture of urban decay and offer access to places out of bounds to most of us, both when they were in use and now. I have to say though, I am shocked at some of the things that were left behind-boxes of patient and hospital records, equipment, furniture etc, such a waste. At the bottom of this page is a link to the Urbex webring and links to other urbex sites. [Comments] A list of comments posted under photographs, beginning with the most recent. Each comment has a hyperlink to the photograph being commented on and a tiny thumbnail version of the picture next to it. [Extras] Here you can find 39 wallpapers which you can download as backgrounds on your computer. They are available in a variety of sizes and show a number of visually impressive photographs. I will definitely not be downloading one as I would never get any work done. I would be staring at it the whole time or it would give me the heeby jeebies every time I turned the computer on! At the bottom of the page are a series of 17 panoramas that have been created to give a clearer impression of certain interiors and exteriors. These including the Riverside Power Plant Turbine Hall and the Cliffside Mental Hospital Theatre. [Search] The opportunity to perform an image search for a particular photograph or a comment search. To make it easier to search for comments you can search for particular words or for the posters name. [About] Explains urban exploration and why it fascinates people so much. Also includes a biography and photo album of Mr Motts; an email address to request prints and technical information about the cameras he used [Disclaimer]: To remind you that he is not responsible for your injury or death if you choose to copy him. You are warned people to respect security as there is always the possibility of being arrested. There is also a reminder that these places are very dangerous and often still inhabited by dangerous people and things!! [Forum] Is a place to chat about art, photography, urban exploration, the locations and mental health issues. You can sign the [Guestbook], [Donate] to support the site or follow the [Links] to other urban exploration sites. This site is not all about horror and gloom, its a fascinating historical record of some locations which may not exist for much longer. Its a chance to look around places we would never have the chance to see ourselves, places which have often been abandoned for many years. In addition, the site has some serious artistic merit, the photographs are beautifully shot and are often works of art in their own right. I visit this site at least once a week, sometimes more, although I tend to stay away from the spookier asylums when I am home alone. Sometimes I hesitate before I click on the next image .just in case! I would wholeheartedly recommend this site. Not many people have come across urban exploration and its an area that I never came across in over 10 years of browsing the internet when bored. Its an area that is extremely fascinating and exploring these wonderful websites has been a regular pastime for me over the last few years. Other excellent sites are : http://www.simoncornwell.com/urbex/ http://www.abandonedpast.co.uk/index.cfm?sid=6605&pid=101183 http://www.sub-urban.com/ http://www.urbanatrophy.com http://www.urbandesertion.com/ http://www.urbanized.us/ http://www.oboylephoto.com/ruins/ http://www.mechanised.org.uk/ http://www.forbidden-places.be/ http://www.fallout-ue.com/ http://www.eximoedifice.com/ http://www.darkpassage.com/gate.htm As a side note I have noticed that I have occasionally had problems accessing this site in the mornings, probably due to the American time difference. Problems have never lasted for more than a couple of hours before the site is back up again.