The Beauty Of Urban Decay

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The city is a fantastic source of beauty and inspiration, with all the glitz and glamor glistening beneath the city lights. But there is another side of the city altogether, one rife with its own kind of allure. Across the tracks, away from the dazzle of downtown, lies a darker imagination, this one looking to grunge-ridden, dilapidated architecture for inspiration. There is a beauty that pervades this kind of urban decay and captured wonderfully through a photographer’s well-trained eye. These industrial city scenes are wonderfully dark and offer a glimpse of the weathered face beneath the city facade.

In this inspirational installment, we take a tour and show the charm of a more neglected and worn side of the city. We showcase the beauty of urban decay, a series of photos of this eroded elegance that photographers have captured brilliantly. These gorgeously grungy images have a haunting appeal, a stirring quality that radiates from within and that earned them a spot on this list.

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

35 Beautiful Examples Of ‘Urban Decay Photography’

phill.d606
“It never ceases to amaze me the different colors and effects you can achieve in a boring concrete R.C.P drain.”

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Magnus Lindqvist8
“Your Worst Nightmare”. “This is a bit different from what I normally shoot. I had this shot in my head for a very long time but it wasn’t until last weekend I finally shot it. The only light source is a shop light behind the door. The place is very narrow and kind of creepy. I had to make sure that the door behind me stayed open or it would have locked me in.” Lexington, Kentucky.

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*pippyzz*10
Fuckin’ days.

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Escapista12
That Train Don’t Stop Here Any More.

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fotografie.berlin14
“This Picture is not photoshopped. It’s real. Don’t really know how and why they made it.”

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GraemeNicol16
American Dollar.

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Mr. Mark18
Classic Blues in Cuba.

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trocker20
“Sienkiewicza”

. Sienkiewicza .21

Shifted*Exposure22
Sun Beam.

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stOOpidgErL24
“Where Was God That Night”

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photosecosse26
Nevada City, Cart and Cabin, Ghost Town, Montana, USA.

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Jano De Cesare28
Corner mood. A corner in an abandoned asylum in Pistoia, Tuscany.

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picaddict30
Highgate Cemetery West London. This beautiful statue lying there as if it would be alive had to be covered with branches. (a wish of the the relatives) but the guide was so kind to clear the grave a little bit for us. I have never seen before in my life such a beautiful touching statue…

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tofu_minx32
Salton Sea – Bombay Beach – Broken Solitude.

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anacm.silva34
Aldeia de Mora – Vimioso, Portugal.

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bsidez5836
Years of decay.

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Darwin Bell38
Rusty but proud.

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DanielKHC40
“Tyersall House”.

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stephmel42
“The Lonely Steps”.

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scottnj44
Curtains, a tattered old curtain hangs through the broken panes of glass in this abandoned old house.

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inesbexiga46
Door, Sobral de Monte Agraço – Portugal.

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Wolfgang Staudt48
Decay – the door in a hospital, Saarbruecken, Germany.

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sheke15450
“Somebody’s Bad Luck”

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Ride My Pony52
Corner Desk.

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sheke15450
Bells Piano.

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Gundross6856
“Postnuclear”

Chair57

bsidez5836
La Chartreuse. It’s a beautiful abandoned fortress in Liege, Belgium.

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phill.d606
“It never ceases to amaze me the different colours and effects you can achieve in a boring concrete R.C.P drain.”

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Pavel Horak62
Industrial Documentary: The Stain.

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Timothy Neesam64
“Broadway”.

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briantmurphy66
“You are beautiful”. This building is just a mile or so from downtown New Orleans, on the bank of the Mississippi.

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Gundross6856
” Postindustrial beauty”

Postindustrial beauty69

A.Guandalini70
Inside an abandoned country house, behind closed windows.

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Eric Matthew Gustafson72
“Steel Office”

Steel Office73

Dan Dumitriu74
“Post-modern burial”

Post-modern burial75

Last Click

Serret76
“levels of initiation”

levels of initiation77

For the last click, we present the image that got this entire ball of inspiration rolling. “A Moment Suspended In Time” was the picture we found that sparked this whole showcase being put together.

Marcin Stawiarz78
“A Moment Suspended In Time”

<br /> A Moment Suspended In Time79

Sources and Resources

Related posts

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/14/the-beauty-of-street-photography/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/09/60-beautiful-examples-of-night-photography-2/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/19/25-beautiful-examples-of-underwater-photography/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/07/35-brilliant-examples-of-rain-photography/
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/24/45-beautiful-motion-blur-photos/
  6. 6 http://flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/
  7. 7 http://flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/2517647364/in/set-72157605040581984/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlindqvist/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlindqvist/2343437550/
  10. 10 http://flickr.com/photos/pippyzz
  11. 11 http://flickr.com/photos/pippyzz/770743488/
  12. 12 http://www.escapista.net/
  13. 13 http://flickr.com/photos/escapista/2564527764/
  14. 14 http://flickr.com/photos/fotografieberlin/
  15. 15 http://flickr.com/photos/fotografieberlin/2352225023/
  16. 16 http://flickr.com/photos/slavers/
  17. 17 http://flickr.com/photos/slavers/241603109/
  18. 18 http://flickr.com/photos/mark_boucher/
  19. 19 http://flickr.com/photos/mark_boucher/115250451/
  20. 20 http://trocker.pl/
  21. 21 http://trocker.deviantart.com/art/Sienkiewicza-82807711
  22. 22 http://flickr.com/photos/focusshift/
  23. 23 http://www.shiftedexposure.com/?showimage=207
  24. 24 http://flickr.com/photos/stoopidgerl/
  25. 25 http://flickr.com/photos/stoopidgerl/103742938/
  26. 26 http://flickr.com/photos/babsphotosecosse/
  27. 27 http://flickr.com/photos/babsphotosecosse/2947672350/
  28. 28 http://flickr.com/photos/janodecesare/
  29. 29 http://flickr.com/photos/janodecesare/2854914549/
  30. 30 http://flickr.com/photos/renate-eder/
  31. 31 http://flickr.com/photos/renate-eder/1321743461/
  32. 32 http://flickr.com/photos/tofu_minx/
  33. 33 http://flickr.com/photos/tofu_minx/2295721904/
  34. 34 http://flickr.com/photos/anasilva/
  35. 35 http://flickr.com/photos/anasilva/2840993726/
  36. 36 http://flickr.com/photos/bsidez/
  37. 37 http://flickr.com/photos/bsidez/454511329/
  38. 38 http://flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/
  39. 39 http://flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/624544600/
  40. 40 http://flickr.com/photos/danielcheong/
  41. 41 http://flickr.com/photos/danielcheong/364479286/
  42. 42 http://flickr.com/photos/melomimo/
  43. 43 http://flickr.com/photos/melomimo/1863941967/
  44. 44 http://flickr.com/photos/scottod/
  45. 45 http://flickr.com/photos/scottod/2312706177/
  46. 46 http://flickr.com/photos/ins_bexiga/
  47. 47 http://flickr.com/photos/ins_bexiga/248721454/
  48. 48 http://flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/
  49. 49 http://flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/3016915882/
  50. 50 http://flickr.com/photos/22795056@N03/
  51. 51 http://flickr.com/photos/22795056@N03/2799437489/
  52. 52 http://flickr.com/photos/charlesbodi/
  53. 53 http://flickr.com/photos/charlesbodi/2333603608/
  54. 54 http://flickr.com/photos/22795056@N03/
  55. 55 http://flickr.com/photos/22795056@N03/2797971946/
  56. 56 http://gundross.deviantart.com/
  57. 57 http://gundross.deviantart.com/art/Chair-72928743
  58. 58 http://flickr.com/photos/bsidez/
  59. 59 http://flickr.com/photos/bsidez/131450267/
  60. 60 http://flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/
  61. 61 http://flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/2239912324/in/set-72157605040581984/
  62. 62 http://www.pavelhorak.com/
  63. 63 http://flickr.com/photos/vincent_vega/502207298/
  64. 64 http://flickr.com/photos/neesam/
  65. 65 http://flickr.com/photos/neesam/438101096/
  66. 66 http://flickr.com/photos/briantmurphy/
  67. 67 http://flickr.com/photos/briantmurphy/2473034404/
  68. 68 http://gundross.deviantart.com/
  69. 69 http://gundross.deviantart.com/art/Postindustrial-beauty-74295597
  70. 70 http://flickr.com/photos/36236696@N00/
  71. 71 http://flickr.com/photos/36236696@N00/540458922/
  72. 72 http://www.antilimit.com/
  73. 73 http://er0k.deviantart.com/art/Steel-Office-102524158
  74. 74 http://deepho.co.nr/
  75. 75 http://ftpaddict.deviantart.com/art/Post-modern-burial-76915725
  76. 76 http://serret.deviantart.com/
  77. 77 http://serret.deviantart.com/art/levels-of-initiation-20395945
  78. 78 http://www.stawiarz.com
  79. 79 http://angelreich.deviantart.com/art/A-Moment-Suspended-In-Time-49319626
  80. 80 http://flickr.com/groups/decayed_yet_haunting/
  81. 81 http://flickr.com/groups/decay/pool/
  82. 82 http://flickr.com/groups/urban_fragments/pool/
  83. 83 http://flickr.com/groups/indecay/pool/
  84. 84 http://flickr.com/groups/urbanexploration/pool/
  85. 85 http://flickr.com/groups/some_urban_decay/pool/
  86. 86 http://flickr.com/groups/abandoned/pool/
  87. 87 http://browse.deviantart.com/photography/civilization/?order=9
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/groups/aboutberlincity/
  89. 89 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/14/the-beauty-of-street-photography/
  90. 90 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/09/60-beautiful-examples-of-night-photography-2/
  91. 91 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/19/25-beautiful-examples-of-underwater-photography/
  92. 92 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/07/35-brilliant-examples-of-rain-photography/
  93. 93 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/24/45-beautiful-motion-blur-photos/

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Rob Bowen is a staff writer for Web Hosting Geeks and Top Web Hosting, a longtime freelance designer, and burgeoning videographer and filmmaker whose creative voice and works can be heard and found around the web.

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  1. 1

    wow ! love this collection !

    0
  2. 52

    What a great post , Thanks so much for this post ;-)

    0
  3. 103

    your site says “Welcome Googler!” when I come from my google rss reader.. can you fix that?
    very nice pics btw and i love your site! Thank you very much

    0
  4. 154

    Thank you so much. These are beautiful!

    -1
  5. 205

    Urban decay. URBAN FUCKING DECAY.
    there were 3 photos in there that werent even urban you fucking fagg0t.
    dont start posting photography on urban decay then show me a picuture of a farm house, or half a wall of an old mill in the middle of fucking no-where. you never mentioned the beauty of rural decay.

    0
  6. 256

    I like many of these shots, but the extensive use of HDR and/or PS make the pictures look like paintings, loosing ground with reality (to me). Of course that’s a personal feeling, but I would have enjoyed more “rawer” versions so to speak.

    0
  7. 307

    For those who like this stuff you may be interested in my Urban Exploration photography: http://abandoniaphoto.com/

    0
  8. 358

    Beautiful pictures

    Although they do look like screenshots from Half-Life 2

    0
  9. 409

    Overall I thought the post was a nice collection of images. But have to agree with some of the comments about overuse/abuse of PS filters. For some true B&W photography of Detroit, MI by my husband and photographer…

    0
  10. 460

    You got the Magnus Lindquist link wrong. It links to stephmel’s flickr page. Magnus -if we’re talkign about the same guy- is from Pattern Recognition, nice guy

    0
  11. 511

    nice one ! I love them ! :)

    0
  12. 562

    I really like the broadway one. really cool stuff overall

    0
  13. 613

    The shipwreck photo isn’t urban decay … it’s the Peter Iredale on the Oregon coast near Fort Stevens State Park.

    0
  14. 664
  15. 715

    HDR overload. I kept looking at this post because some of pics were very moving. It’s just a bummer when some images lose their DOF through HDR.

    0
  16. 766

    I’ll throw my own urban exploration photography into the ring here: Flickr. I’ve been a fan of bsidez’s work for quite a while now, and although a lot of the photos here were heavily processed, I think they’re still great art in their own way.

    0
  17. 817

    Inspiring… Well Done.

    0
  18. 868

    The purity is lost through HDR.

    0
  19. 919

    beautiful~

    0
  20. 970

    Thanks for the ‘smashing’ post. I have my own collection of photographs that I took a couple months ago that would fit perfectly in this category! This proves that beauty doesn’t have to be new, clean, and in one piece, but rather to respect what has been left behind.

    0
  21. 1021

    Thanks for the ‘smashing’ post. I have a group of photographs that I took a couple of months ago that would fit perfect in this collection! These remind us that ‘beauty’ doesn’t have to be new, clean, and in one piece, but rather to embrace what has been left behind!

    0
  22. 1072

    Best Design Options

    January 19, 2009 10:53 pm

    Ultimate, indeed! Thanks!

    0
  23. 1123

    I like urban theme. Also made Berlin photos in last year http://galeria.bigismall.com/berlin/

    0
  24. 1174

    HDR overload. I kept looking at this post because some of pics were very moving. It’s just a bummer when some images lose their DOF through HDR.

    0
  25. 1225

    Further evidence that HDR is one of the most abused photo techniques ever. Your affinity to it is ongoing and, at least by me, not appreciated. I don’t want to whine and I know you can’t appeal to all, but just for feedback’s sake I am a web developer (HTML, CSS, jQuery, PHP) and a keen photographer for many years and I am on the very very brink of deleting your entry in my “open every day” favourites folder. Sure that comic has something to do with it, but the commenter’s are overwhelmingly juvenile and easily pleased, and offer very little constructive feedback, it’s all starting to seem like a waste of time :( Remember posts like these? http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/17/showcase-of-minimalist-and-clean-designs/ a real time-saving roundup? The above post saves me no time at all, I could just go to Flickr and type “urban HDR” (like you did). Like I said I am on the brink, I can’t be alone.

    By the way here’s that link, you can use it as a post if you like. My title is “5000+ super-incredible urban decay pics

    0
  26. 1276

    Well i’d like to say i’ve just found out i have 2 pictures on here. I can say hand on heart that my 2 are neither manipulted with HDR or even photoshoped (I don’t have it and couldn’t be bothered trying to work it if i did)
    They were edited on Picasso with a little tweak. Nothing more.
    I think there are a few other stunning pics on here too. HDR or not.

    0
  27. 1327

    #3 would have been nice if the highlights weren’t blown. And the cartoonie HDR pics? Please…enough’s enough. 11,14, and 21 can hardly be included as “urban”. #30 is almost good. Most of the guys on this site are trying waaay too hard, though. Just let it go.

    0
  28. 1378

    Oh, and Chris (post #18)? You CAN get a natural look using HDR…if it’s done right.

    0
  29. 1429

    all i can say is, i appreciate the fact that two of my images were chosen to be displayed in the group. my two images are not HDR, but have some minor tweaks in photoshop. i do believe there is an art to taking a picture, but photoshop can be a wonderfull extension to the art. sometimes HDR images have the dramatic feel one might be trying and get across. to each their own, i say

    0
  30. 1480

    UNA COLECCION EXCELENTE DE FOTOS, MUCHAS DE ELLAS SIRVEN PARA HACER REFLEXION

    0
  31. 1531

    Good collection of decay images. I do this type of photos too…

    Enjoy my collections on Flickr

    0
  32. 1582

    Collection looks good, except a few useless (really scrap) photos :-D

    0
  33. 1633

    That picture of Timothy Neesams is amazing, saw it in a digital photography mag the other day.

    Check out my UE site: http://derelictionaddiction.fotopic.net

    0
  34. 1684

    YOU MISSED SOMEONE – Nick Haas Digital Collage Photography!

    http://www.haastyle.com

    0
  35. 1735

    I liked it so much,keep it up guys

    0
  36. 1786
  37. 1837

    These pictures are orgasmic!

    0
  38. 1888

    Those places look so lonly and sad, and they stirred something within. They have left a great impression in my heart.

    0
  39. 1939

    Excellent depiction of time lapse. Need to be made public for future presevation

    0
  40. 1990

    You should have included the lost photograph on the list. So far it’s the web urban decay I ever saw and it’s here: http://lostphotograph.com/index.php?showimage=148losh

    0
  41. 2041

    Wow! Really great photos! This single webpage has completely changed my view on religion forever. You should check out my website sometime, in which I make lists of things I’ve bought/rented/listened to. It’s completely unrelated!

    0
  42. 2092

    I do’nt have a slow computer, ‘ts just that your website is fucking unclear. Put something like scroll down on it. Instead of the click here button. But eh yeh, great pictures…

    0
  43. 2143

    These images are amazing – my favourites being the old hotels and theatres. We struggle to find urban decay here in my city, IF you can find something it’s locked up tight. The struggle is to find it!

    0
  44. 2194

    Wow, what a sit up and take notice collection. Were some of these taken outside the US? They have a South American feel to the architecture. They’re great thanks for sharing.

    0
  45. 2245

    this was so real n inchantin really beutiful n awesome

    0
  46. 2296

    Wow! Very cool pics.
    Some pictures from abandoned places in Germany you will find here:

    0
  47. 2347
  48. 2398

    Very nice images, wish I could visit a lot of the places with the work I do.

    0
  49. 2449

    Excellent photos, there’s a load of awesome shots to be seen over on Flickr, I have my desktop rotating with different urbex photo every 15 minutes – if you want to do that try DeskLickr (Mac) or John’s Background Switcher (Windows).

    Also, please check out my blog Sick Britain: http://www.sickbritain.co.uk/

    0
  50. 2500

    Looking at all these photographs I am beginning to think photoshop has some kinda new widget or brush or button called “decayify.” Come on folks, there is plenty of “awesome” decay around without the need to hit that widget.

    -2

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