There has always been an element of the romantic attached to abandoned places. The remoteness of a once-great building, deserted and left to rot, open to the elements which slowly chip away at the bricks and mortar until the structure collapses into its foundations, leaving only a trace of it’s previous existence. An increase in the media spotlight on urban exploration in the past decade has brought new insights into the private lives of the world’s lost edifices, igniting curiosity and wonderment at the neglected relics of industry that litter our towns and cities.
Photographer Anna Mika embarks on her own urban explorations to capture the spirit of these eerie but undeniably striking carcasses of the past. Her love affair with the forgotten began when she visited an abandoned cement factory in Jaworzno, a southern city in her native Poland, and after which she found herself captivated by the silence and the smells of dereliction.
The images Anna captures portray the narrative of the subjects – the lost decadence of opulent churches, the mottled chambers of grand houses, and the industrial corrosion of putrefying manufacturing plants. Nature is invading the built environment, grass grows through the windows, mould seeps in to the timbers, and an enlarging carpet of moss blankets the floor tiles.
Anna’s picture depict an interesting point in the lifecycle of a building, the last days of endurance before the beams and bricks are sucked back into the soil. Amidst broken glass and cobwebbed stairwells, shattered furniture and whole rooms reduced to rubble and debris, Anna’s pictures embrace the remorselessness of time and the destructive power of entropy, breathing a new kind of beauty into the architectural ruins, one which commemorates the essence of its original purpose, whilst celebrating the wildness of its current state of silent decay.