Ruined Barn Interior

The big motto for urbex is “Take only photos, leave only footprints.” A great tagline that promotes a non-destructive approach. But there is a potential problem in spite of these high ideals.

Now, I love urbex. It’s part of my identity as a photographer. And I confess that I’ve been enticed many times to throw caution to the wind and sneak into a juicy abandoned property. But I’m also a professional, and that means acting like one. Is there a way to get into abandoned areas legally?

As a matter of fact there is.

Take the photo above. It’s part of an abandoned farm complex I ran across recently. And not a “Posted” sign to be seen! Tempting as tempting can be. Fortunately, I was saved from tearing my hair out in ethical frustration when I saw a guy operating some heavy farm equipment on a neighboring property. I asked if he knew who the owner was. And, joy of joys, he did! I made a beeline for the owner’s main property, presented a business card and my most winning smile, and asked for their indulgence of an oddball photographer.

The next day, I was happily snapping away guilt-free. The takeaway? For the sake of your profession, it’s much better to ask permission than forgiveness.

Exposure Data: ISO 100, f/16, 2″/1″/4″

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Written by The Twilit Lens

Freelance photographer and ponderer of the unusual. I welcome the presence of mystery and the unknown. Wonder is not absent from the universe, and there is still room for the child in those who haven't yet allowed their hearts to wither to dust.

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