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Beauty in Decay: Urbex: The Art of Urban Exploration Hardcover – Illustrated, 3 Aug 2010

52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: CarpetBombingCulture; 3rd edition (3 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955912148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955912146
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 26.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Street art is exciting. We know that but we might be so deep in it, that we forget it every once in a while. Untitled III reminds us. It also reminds us that we're far from there yet. Wherever there might be. To take some words from the book: Street art is ill defined, street art is a thin line between good and evil, street art is the occasional stroke of genius --CFYE

Now I'm lucky enough to have part I and II here as well, and I read through both again to find if there is something that sets `This is Street Art' apart from its predecessors, except the obvious of course. I'm happy to inform you that there isn't. They found the perfect formula to document and question what is happening, and to provoke the mind. --Arden de Raaij

From the Publisher

What's the Story with Urban Exploration?
It's easy to describe what an Urban Explorer does; they infiltrate into abandoned buildings and industrial sites and explore them, often taking photographs along the way. They don't steal, vandalise or even leave graffiti behind them. In fact their code of honour is reminiscent of the rambler's way: Take only pictures, leave only footprints. It is, on the other hand, not so easy to describe the whys and wherefores.
Think back to your childhood for a moment and it all begins to make sense. Do you remember the terrifying yet seductive draw of the archetypal haunted house? Every neighbourhood and every childhood has one. At the very point we cross the border from childhood into adolescence we cross real physical borders too. It's the moment in our lives when we test the boundaries. We finally pluck up the courage to break into the haunted house and take a look around. You can probably remember your own experiences of this. And there will be at least one.

The Urban Explorer feels that we, in the comfortable and over-protected `first world' are living in an enforced and extended state of childhood. They have remembered that they are capable of having unmediated experiences of reality and they welcome the fear that may (or may not) come with those experiences. The fear itself is the gateway to go through. It's the gateway that leads for many to `wonderland'. This is the world through the looking glass that in some dark corner of every soul, we are all looking for.

The strange thing then is not that Urban Explorers exist; it's that the rest of us have forgotten that we are Urban Explorers too.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Urbex0r on 1 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have spent a while viewing this book in my local Waterstones and at a friends who bought it, and was disapointed with the sheer amount of processing involved. There's a great set of locations there, some of which I have visited myself. It's such a shame the that atmosphere of these places is lost by tonemapping them to look like a still from a video game, especially those with gas mask faced figures in them - what does that achieve?

On a positive note, there's a great selection of locations and some excellent compositions in there, largely spoilt by overmanipulation of the images to a point that they lose the realism that can be presented with straightforward photographs.

I'd like to see the photographs that went into making these HDR images - perhaps you could release these in a separate book?

Who was the book made for, the people that want to see what these fascinating places are like inside, or for the graphical artists involved to demonstrate the capabilities of the latest tone-mapping software.

Compared to other dereliction based books that I've read/bought such as FORBIDDEN PLACES - Exploring our abandoned heritage, Abandoned Places,Asylum, Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration and After the Wall, this book just doesn't stand up to the quality of photography.

Overall dissapointing, given my high expectations.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By laurie on 14 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
A visually stunning book, full of rich inspiring images providing a really interesting insight into the ethos of urban exlorers. Most photographers probably started out by taking photos of derelict buildings and abandoned places (lets face it who hasnt got a few such images tucked away in some forgotten corner of their hard drive) but these are the images that most of us could only dream of capturing. Perhaps more importantly this book reminds us of the importance of documenting and recording the faded remains of these once great buildings before they disappear from view forever.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. J. Welton on 26 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is something undeniably creepy yet at the same time utterly fascinating about the images presented in Beauty in Decay. I would say it is an acquired taste but probably one that not many of us realise we have.

You get a sense of the history, memories and emotions from shots taken in hospitals, asylums, factories and such - all abandoned, empty, derict, forgotten and "left as is". To be honest, I haven't a clue when it comes to the technical side of the imagery itself (the equipment and methods used), nor do I know enough about the scene, community, ideology etc of urban exploration to fully appreciate the narrative, but I just find the work presented here compelling and makes me want to learn more about the artisits and the locations, which can only be good thing.

Definitely worth a look, especially if you have any inkling of an interest in such things, and a great price now through Amazon for beautifully presented photographic hardback.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To some, decay is beautiful.

The idea of abandonment is to see something in a light which we do not usually perceive. This book shows just how lovely some spaces can be.

If you're an Urbex fan this is a must. Some breath taking images which will make you look over and over again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sophie on 4 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was hopping for something more subtle, and have been disappointed by this book. Some photographs are really good, some are "over-dramatic". I consider "Ruins of Detroit", by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, so much more convincing!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Konrad on 11 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A brilliant book to gain inspiration to take your own deralict photographs and some interesting information inside the book. Although it is more like a picture book. A picture is a thousand words.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lingerhosen on 12 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found it very good, it covered a lot of the sort of things I was interested in.

I wish the HDR processing (?) wasn't present, as it makes some shots more like drawings, which is not to my taste, but it's not all the way through.

Worth the money if you have an interest.

(I know nothing about photography or Urbex, but as an interested outsider, it ticked a lot of boxes for me, compared to what I saw in similar titles).
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By AJ on 1 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am delighted to have purchased this book. The photography is remarkable and the text allows the reader to enter into secret spaces that capture both possible dangers and multiple histories. Excellent choice.
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