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″