Secret Cities: Capturing Hidden Abandoned Places on Film

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Just beyond all of the noise and activity of daily urban life is a secret world of forgotten spaces which are nearly always dank and dusty, but often surprisingly beautiful. Photographer Andrew Brooks seeks out these spots in Manchester, UK and Sittard-Geleen, The Netherlands, capturing them on film so the less adventurous can experience a small fraction of their crumbling glory.

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Brooks gains entry into grand disused buildings that seem frozen in time, like the Hulme Hippodrome and Manchester’s Albert Hall, as well as subterranean tunnels and decommissioned water towers. At his website, the photographer provides detailed information about each location he shoots, describing what it felt like to experience them firsthand, as well as offering his stunning images.

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The forgotten spaces just out of view of the average person in virtually any major city around the world start to occupy ‘imaginary spaces,’ says Brooks. It’s easy to envision them as settings for all sorts of fictional intrigue, to let our imaginations run wild with the possibilities of these often complex spaces, yet most of us are too wrapped up in our immediate surroundings to give them much thought.

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“The familiar space we occupy gradually take on the character of wallpaper in our lives as we hurry from meeting to meeting, commitment to commitment, never stopping to appreciate the places where we live. In our rush we miss both the fantasy and reality of our pace in the world, habitually ignoring even the points where the opportunities for simple adventure encourage us to indulge.”