Why you should care
Because images of the forgotten remind us of where we’ve been — and what we’ve lost.
Abandoned homes. Deserted buildings. To some, an eyesore or a troubling reminder of loss. But for urbex photographers like Jascha Hoste in the Netherlands, derelict buildings hold a special beauty and fascination — in both the challenge of the capture itself and telling a decades-old story.
Urbex is a branch of urban exploration where artists and adventurers seek out ruined manmade structures — often at risk of personal injury or punishment for trespassing. But why photograph peeling wallpaper, dusty furniture and cobwebbed windows? What’s the fascination?
“People need someone to show them the beauty of these places, because they can’t see it themselves,” says Hoste via email. “And when they see it, they are able to imagine how it must have been, living in these places, in those times.” Which can be an exciting, mysterious or even frightening experience.
The Netherlands-based Hoste has been an urbex photographer since 2007, capturing hundreds of old mansions, abandoned hospitals, crumbling churches and other building ruins in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. His mission: ”There are so many empty buildings in Europe, especially former East Germany, rotting away. Such a shame. With my photos, I hope to immortalize this beauty before it has totally rotted away.”
Connecting with the forgotten can be especially poignant. Hoste recalls the experience of photographing Maison Heinen in Luxembourg: ”When you walk in this room … you have the feeling you walk into another time in history. It looks like a fairy tale, like time stood still — incredibly beautiful. You just can’t believe that it’s all still there, hardly touched by time or anything. Like you’ve gone back in time 50 years. It’s unbelievable that no one looks at it, cherishes it.”
Thanks to the deft fingers and keen eye of Jascha Hoste, we can look at it, can cherish the “beauty of decay” — whether online or at his latest photography exhibition, running until May 22 in Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands.