I’ve previously reviewed Hans van Rensbergens previous books, and I didn’t realise he’d released a third earlier this year until just recently.
Hans has one of the longest running (and best) urbex websites on the web, and was one of the reasons for my increased interest several years ago.
One of the first things that struck me, compared to the previous books, was the increase in the amount of colour photographs. In fact it’s now 100% colour, as opposed to Henk’s first book which was predominantly black and white with a small colour section at the back.
This book has a more international flavour than previous ones, with sites in the Caribbean and Japan. I guess this is one of the perks of being an airline pilot and having downtime across the globe!
The sites are as fascinatingly diverse as ever, and in the abandoned American shopping mall, arguably topical. However, I find it hard to get excited about places such as this, as to an extent they’re too familiar – it looks like any other shopping mall albeit unlit and no people. To me, part of the fascination of urbex is the unfamiliarity of the places, but I can see the attraction of exploring somewhere like this, and there’d clearly be no personal safety concerns!
It might just be a consequence of the changing economic landscape, but there are fewer vast industrial sites to explore these days and more diverse abandonments. This is reflected in the Abandoned Places series of books, with the first one having steelworks and coking plants, and this book with lots of smaller places like houses and smaller hotels.
I flicked through it again last night and it’s probably a more cohesive book than the second one, and if nothing else, a return to the landscape format has made it an easier read. It’s also interesting to see the subtle changes in photographic style over the years, with more wide angle shots and also a few long exposure night photographs of an abandoned Japanese theme park.
Abandoned Places 3 is up to the high standards set by the previous books and is highly recommended if you are a fan of the genre.
Buy it on Amazon here.