Abandoned|Forgotten / by Image Engineer

I've been going through my photo archives in the last couple of weeks, trying to see what I really need to keep and what I can throw out. A decade's worth of images is no easy feat. There were some good shots, and some really, really terrible ones. All in all, some great memories.

While it's a lot of work, I do recommend every photographer to go back and look through images from when they first started dabbling in the arts of capturing light. Keep the good ones, throw out the rest and you might just learn something from a younger version of yourself.

While going through the archives, I came across a series of images I shot while studying photography back in 2009. The images were captured while exploring a burned down building in the center of Johannesburg. They were just there on my drive for 7 years and I never even thought about posting it on Facebook or using it as part of my student portfolio while still in college.

As I recall, a fellow student called me one day and told me about the building. We packed our gear and headed South from my hometown of Pretoria towards the center of Johannesburg. When we first got there, it felt like we stumbled onto a movie set. A mix between Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas and a Rob Zombie movie (take your pick).

Anyway, we moved inside, walking from room to room and we could see signs that the building has been inhabited by the homeless as we were trying our best to avoid the human excrement, broken needles strewn and rotting floorboards across the floors. 

I'm a big fan of abandoned buildings, and it's one thing you don't often find in South Africa, unless you really dig deep, even then, it might only be a little farm house somewhere in the Karoo Desert. This building was basically a dream come true for me. One man's loss is another man's gain, I suppose? It's a terrible thing for a building to have burned down, but it's also a terrible thing of beauty, and especially when it comes to photography it's, for the lack of a better word, perfect.

So when I was busy looking at images in my archive, I came to a realization.

I became stagnant.

Throughout the years, I seem to have  abandoned the chase of always capturing a photo and transforming it into a story. After a while I just kept telling myself it's not worth it and I started going out and leaving my camera at home.

I remember, when I first bought my Canon 5D Mark II (which is still my primary camera, 9 years later), I took it everywhere. Shooting everything, which unfortunately is now causing the headache of going through Terabytes of photos and videos. While it's eating up all my hard drive space, it did some good.

I was shooting all the time. Learning all the time. I shot so many images I never used, but I still kept them. I guess I'm a bit of a hoarder.. Just a bit. But eventually, as technology progressed, I became obsessed with the idea that I needed new gear to better myself when all I needed was simply to step outside with my camera.

Head over to my Instagram Page where you can view the rest of the images in this series and keep up to date with my most recent posts.