Earlier today, my chum Rick Curl sent me an email saying, “Prepare to have your mind boggled. The pictures pointed to by this link are of an abandoned powerplant that was built in 1914. It really looks like something from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.”

Ah, who amongst our number could forget the Austrian-German-American film director, screenwriter, and occasional film producer Friedrich Christian Anton “Fritz” Lang and his 1927 expressionist science-fiction Metropolis movie masterpiece?

I don’t know about you, and I have no idea why this should be, but I enjoy perusing and pondering images of abandoned buildings, especially factories and industrial complexes, although I find any large deserted and derelict edifice to be of interest.

It may be that the attraction of abandoned buildings is one of the reasons I’m drawn to post-apocalyptic tales in books, TV series, and movies. Alternatively, it might be the case that my love of the post-apocalyptic genre is what leads me to find bygone buildings so beguiling.

Abandoned power plant in Hungary (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: André Joosse)

Anyway, I immediately bounced over to the www.urbex.nl website in question to find the most splendid pictures you can imagine. I quickly contacted the owner of the site and the taker of the pictures, André Joosse, requesting permission to use one of the images in this blog, and he kindly responded in the affirmative.

It was via the FAQ on André’s site that I was first exposed to the concept of “urbex” or “urban exploration” (sometimes known as “roof-and-tunnel hacking”). It turns out that urbex is the exploration of manmade structures — usually abandoned ruins or hidden components of the manmade environment — and that photography and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in this hobby. As André notes, suitable subjects include amusement parks, factories, houses, fallout shelters, sanatoriums, asylums, schools, and — of course — power plants.

If you want to lose the next few days of your life, visit André’s Locations by Category page, which will lead you down a rabbit hole of some of the most sumptuous urbex photography upon which it has been my privilege to cast my orbs.

Seeing these images has made me want to take up urban exploration myself. The only problem is that I know my pictures would come out looking like dross compared to André’s offerings. Maybe one day I will meet an urbex aficionado and photography maestro who is prepared to let me tag along while teaching me the tricks of the trade. Until that frabjous day, I will content myself by exploring André’s awesome archive.

How about you? Do you have an interest in this sort of thing? Have you taken any such photographs yourself? And, last but certainly not least, which of André’s locations and images do you find to be the most beguiling?