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26 Breathtaking Pictures of Abandoned and Forgotten Places

Photographer Matt Emmett doesn't pay attention to signs that say "do not enter." While traveling around Europe, the urban explorer looks for the eerie beauty found in the derelict and forgotten. Emmett has photographed everything from abandoned hotels to power stations; before entering a new location, he always reads up about the history first. He offers a detailed description of each picture he takes on his Flickr

"I enjoy being in such magnificent places alone or in a small group," Emmett told mental_floss. "The atmosphere that hangs over a derelict power station or steel plant, for me, puts them on a level with the Angkor Wat's or Machu Pichu's of this world." 

You can see more of his work on his website, Twitter, or Facebook page

A rooftop view of an abandoned asylum in Northern Italy. A lot of the medical equipment and machines can still be found inside. 

A ruined chapel at a private residence in Italy.

The inside of a cooling tower in Belgium. 

A crane in an old factory. 

A radome in Belgium.

Inside the radome.

The overgrown window of a UK manor house. 

A decaying library in a manor house in England. 

Faded fresco paintings cling to the walls of the entrance hall at a large abandoned Villa complex.

This strange structure was created by an artist to house himself and his sheep. It's located on private land in the Cotswolds, England. 

Rusting radar dishes along the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coast in England. 

The banister of an abandoned Italian villa. It was converted into a psychiatric hospital in the 1800s. 

Light shining through the Oculus Tower in Italy. The factory was used to process sugarbeets in sugars and oils. 

Wooden cabinets that were used to hold patient information at a psychiatric hospital in Northern Italy.

An old television sits by the window in England. 

A ruined colonnade encased in foliage. This photo is one of the photographer's favorites. 

A home abandoned after a fire during World War II. 

A statue of Neptune in the UK. 

A Victorian reservoir located under the streets of London, England. "The echo in here had fantastic delay to it, my whoop coming back to me around four seconds after it left my mouth," Emmett said. 

A surgery room at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. "The hospital was famous in the 1930s for being one of the pioneering sites for the research and early practice of frontal lobe lobotomy," Emmett writes.

A long hallway of a military hospital used to take care of U.S. soldiers during the Gulf War. "Places like this remind me that [nature] always prevails and nothing we create can ever stand up to her and the passage of time," Emmett said. 

Another view of the Oculus Tower in Italy. 

A tunnel in underground London. 

Photographer and son in the Box Quarry in the UK. 

A jet engine test area at Pyestock NGTE, a Royal Aircraft Establishment facility in Fleek, UK, that has since been demolished.

Inside an empty castle in Italy. 

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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David Nadlinger
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science
This Photo of a Single Atom Won a Science Photography Top Prize
David Nadlinger
David Nadlinger

While you've been busy finding just the right Instagram filter for your cat, a University of Oxford graduate student has been occupied with visualizing a single atom and capturing it in a still frame. And the remarkable feat recently earned an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council photography award. Why? It was taken with a conventional camera, and the atom can be seen with the naked eye.

Take a look:

A close-up of a single atom in an ion trap
David Nadlinger

That tiny dot in between the two parallel metal electrodes is a strontium atom suspended by electric fields in an ion trap. It’s visible because the photographer, Ph.D. candidate David Nadlinger, projected blue violet light into a vacuum chamber. The atom absorbed and reflected the light, allowing Nadlinger to snap a photo in the split instant the atom was viewable. The space between the two points is just 0.08 of an inch.

Nadlinger dubbed the image "Single Atom in an Ion Trap" and took the Council’s top award. In a statement, he expressed enthusiasm that other people are now able to see what his work in quantum computing looks like.

[h/t Newsweek]

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