June 27, 2013
The beauty of decay, the art of Urbex: Dutch photographer Niki Feijen immortalizes an astonishingly intact glimpse into the past. This autodidact specializes in ‘Urbex’ or ‘Urban Exploration’. According to Wikipedia Urban Exploring is: “The examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities, such as visiting and photographing abandoned buildings, tunnels, industry, and castles.”
All images © Niki Feijen
Niki Feijen, a Network Engineer by day, captures abandoned houses and boarded-up buildings in his spare time. He has a soft spot for family homes and religious locations where everything is still in place, but where decay obviously has set in.
With an insane amount of kilometers under his belt, Niki urbexes around the globe. He looks for restricted sites or places marked ‘do not enter’. Curious about what lies on the ‘other side’, he goes in search of a world hidden in plain sight. Coming across impressive yet eerie locations, such as homes located in ghost towns, lost asylums, decaying hospitals, abandoned castles and long forgotten hotels.
In 2010, Niki visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the Ukraine, the ultimate deserted location. Before the nuclear disaster, the city of Pripyat had 50,000 inhabitants. After the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, the entire city was evacuated within 48 hours.
With the mass abandonment, it was as if time was stopped, leaving thousands of hermited homes, still furnished with the former occupant’s belongings. Here, the silence is deafening, like stepping into a deserted kindergarten still filled with dolls, toys, children’s shoes and children’s gas masks, leaving an incredible impression.
To share these impressions, Niki independently published his first book called ‘Disciple of Decay’ last month. A beautiful, high quality work with over 150 pages featuring abandoned homes and other buildings, all frozen in time. A peek into the past, displaying the beauty of decay.
This post is the result of a collaboration between Arts Holland and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and is written by Kim Nanne. Kim is the Art Director and Project Manager for Arts Holland and lives and works in Amsterdam.