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’ Link

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 Link

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 Link

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

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Footnotes Link

  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

    Those are GREAT pics… very thought provoking. They “shock” a guy like me who lives out in the country and concentrates on family and kids photography. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed them.

    Brent Riggs
    http://www.riggsfamilyblog.com
    http://www.brentriggs.com

    0
  2. 2

    Thomson Chemmanoor

    January 18, 2009 8:12 pm

    Awesome Urban Decay Photography. A great source of beauty and inspiration.

    0
  3. 3

    wow. such beautiful decay indeed!

    0
  4. 4

    Nice article. Urban decay.. hmm I grew up in the city. /nostalgia

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  5. 5

    This is Remarkable! Some images remind me of Da Vinci’s Drawings.
    Keep it up Guys!

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  6. 6

    Beautiful!

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  7. 7

    beutiful!

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  8. 8

    Simply Beautiful photography. Great Job!

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  9. 9

    Great collection.. here is another photographer who does outstanding ‘decay’ work
    http://www.callybeart.com/gallery_134150.html

    0
  10. 10

    Awesome captures!

    0
  11. 11

    more wonderful urban decay from yves marchand & romain meffre: http://reliques.online.fr/ and roche photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rochephoto/sets/72157603917583359/

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  12. 12

    Yay, not a terrible comic!

    0
  13. 13
  14. 14

    Nice photography….good collection !!

    DKumar M.

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  15. 15

    inspirational… who would have thought that even in decay there’s such a beauty

    0
  16. 16

    Some of these are over-processed HDR…but there are some amazing straight shots as well. Almost all show very good composition and creative ability.

    0
  17. 17

    I have quite a lot of these in my “Abandoned Places” set on Flickr. Mostly tunnels, reservoirs, buildings and factories around Sydney, Australia.

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  18. 18

    I was actually with Tim Neesam when he took that photo. I would agree with #12 about many of these being over-processed. Personally, I’m mostly a purist with my urban exploration photography. On the rare occasion I use HDR, I go for a “natural” look, if such a thing can be true of HDR photography.

    Here are some of my urban exploration photos: LINK

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  19. 19

    Beautiful Photos.

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  20. 20

    Something different…Very nice collection!

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  21. 21

    I really aprecciate author. Beautifull pics

    0
  22. 22

    I love Marcin Stawiarz phorographies.
    Great article!

    0
  23. 23

    Nice article. Great snaps!

    0
  24. 24

    excellent collection of shots and perfect inspiration for the urban – industrial themes I am working on at the moment.

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  25. 25

    Awesome photos!

    0
  26. 26

    wow ! loved it !!!!!

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  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29

    nice pictures, some are a little over-photoshopped maybe ,-), some not really urban… but very nice collection anyway!

    0
  30. 30

    Beautiful.. ^^

    0
  31. 31

    just an idea, whe n you put photography lists togethor, might be nice to post a follow up list of users efforts of the chosen style a week later something.

    great pics

    0
  32. 32

    Beautiful!

    I love these type of photos, every one tells its own story.
    An history, pain en hapyness. Incredible!! very inspirational.

    I’m getting goosebumps :)

    1
  33. 33

    i love them, my favorite though is Marcin Stawiarz

    0
  34. 34

    i like it but…….those photos that is taken must preserve and they must make it more beautiful………

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  35. 35

    Шикарно

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  36. 36

    beautiful work. Little is more interesting than old, decayed architecture, in my opinion. I would love to have seen these before they were Photoshopped-up with colors, overlays and HDR filters.

    Sometimes I think people grossly underestimate their work, believing the original image lacks interest until they “job it” – which is usually not the case.

    0
  37. 37

    Awesome! I love it.

    0
  38. 38

    Some great shots. Urban landscapes are probably my favourite subject to shoot, that and natural landscapes so thanks for these pics. Great inspiration. I have some of my own photos here.

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  39. 39

    I like the photos but not the tittle nor the idea. There is nothing beautiful about social injustice (urban decay). No matter how a photo portrays it, urban decay not only shows but tells the story of inequality and injustices done to anyone without equal access top resources.

    0
    • 40

      These photos have nothing to do with social injustice or inequality. I didn’t see a single person in any one of these photos. The reason they are decaying is because NO ONE LIVES THERE!

      0
  40. 41

    Some of the are fantastic, some of them truly abuse the use of HDR
    But great post over all

    Where is the New Orleans Shot ?
    http://www.jpgmag.com/photos/1399758

    http://www.jpgmag.com/people/alexoz

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  41. 42

    Too much HDR.

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  42. 43

    Here’s a great photo sample of an urban decay :D http://lostphotograph.com/index.php?showimage=148losh

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  43. 44

    Nature bestowing it´s beauty on itself once again.

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  44. 45

    “Broadway” by Timothy Neesan is beautiful.

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  45. 46

    These are stunning. I love this sort of photography, and would totally love to go and do some urban exploring. There is another site that’s as stunning as these – Opacity.us you might also check out sometime.

    0
  46. 47

    nice collection, but for an assemblage of “urban decay” there’s too much HDR and photoshop.

    0
  47. 48

    Wow, nice pics.

    0
  48. 49

    Those are fantastic! The photo by Escapista looks like it had a UV filter used.

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  49. 50

    most of them are just boring pictures with a LOT of photoshop filters.

    0
  50. 51

    Great collection of artists. One not listed is Xavier Nuez, http://www.nuez.com, he’s been photographing urban decay for years.

    0

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