Discarded Objects

Junk collectors and urban explorers have a lot in common.

We both like old, neglected, forgotten stuff. There are treasures tossed out on sidewalks, ditches and parking lots. Explore your local area from the perspective of a freecycler or junk picker (there are other names for it, too many to list). What can you find to make an interesting photograph from the discarded stuff people glance at and walk right on by every day.

Found objects are interesting and you can decide whether to leave them or take them (there are less ethics when something has been thrown out rather than being on the property of an abandoned building).

  • If you collect found objects (in a theme?) you could create a study of them in your photographs. What are there differences? How were they found? Could they still be useful in some way?
  • If you leave discarded objects where they are you could see how they change as time passes. Some may get taken, kicked around or moved in one way or another. Some will not fare well in the outdoors with rain, wind or sun.

Either way, discarded things are worth noticing and available right in your own local area – without bending any laws.

Todd Fisher’s photos of New York in winter show us slushy, dirty snow. Household objects, TVs, and chairs, have been chucked unlovingly onto the street. The home comforts look strange in their new, hostile setting.

snowdaystoddfishervia – Dazed – The photographer mourning the loss of dirty NYC

Tobermory Shipwrecks

Fathom Five National Marine Park offers some of the best freshwater diving opportunities in Canada. Clear, clean water, submerged geological formations (cliffs, caves, overhangs) and over 20 historic shipwrecks offer a variety of underwater experiences. Everyone, from the novice snorkeller to the most advanced diving enthusiast, can find lots to explore and enjoy within the park.

Source: Tobermory is home to over 20 historic shipwrecks

Wreckage on 31 (2007)

Wreckage on 31 1321606185 Wreckage on 31 1321607167 Wreckage on 31 1321608019 Wreckage on 31 1321608417 Wreckage on 31 1321608845 Wreckage on 31 1321609735 Wreckage on 31 1321610279 Wreckage on 31 1322496814 Wreckage on 31 1322497502 Wreckage on 31 1322497802 Wreckage on 31 1322499118 Wreckage on 31 1322499582 Wreckage on 31 1322500404 Wreckage on 31 Forgotten Curtain 1322501046 Wreckage on 31 Window Frame 1321607651A man was living in a trailer on the property. No one had lived in this house for awhile. I asked for permission to walk around and see the house. He didn’t mind, just wondered why I was interested. One of the only times I have gotten permission to explore and one of the very few times I talked to someone who didn’t give me a history of the place before I began photographing it.

I don’t know if this house still stands. It had some nice, old fashioned and unique features.


A Note to Curious Explorers

Four women stop to explore an abandoned property, on impulse. They post the video to YouTube and are condemned for what they have done. The comments go too far. As a woman explorer myself I wonder why there are so many videos just like this (from males) and they do not get this kind of response.

This is what I posted:

The comments are too extreme. I’ve seen a lot of men/ boys posting the same or far riskier stuff. Why so much backlash when it’s a group of women who really didn’t vandalize or steal anything?

I’m not voting your video down or asking you to take it down. I think you took a few risks more than you needed to but I do understand the curiousity to see an old place. I’m glad you did not take anything. I explore in rural Ontario and the only thing I leave with are my memories and photographs too.

Anyway, mainly ladies, if you explore a condemned property and become injured it is not fair to the property owner(s) as they would be responsible for whatever happens to you while you are on their property. A place which is condemned is not just an empty house. There was very likely structural damage to that house. It is good you were unable to enter it. Floors may have been unsafe from dampness, etc. You were not prepared for that kind of risk to yourselves. Though, it was good that you stuck together and did not have just one person on her own.

One other thing to be aware of are the outside dangers on an abandoned property, especially when the ground was covered with snow. Stray animals are one thing, chances are you would at least see them or they would not approach a group of people. But, the bigger risk is the covered ground because you can’t see what you are walking on. Possibly broken glass, nails which could go through your shoes. Also, wells and other holes which are not marked or covered securely/ safely.

I still enjoy finding an old place and documenting it with photographs. I don’t use video because I prefer still photos so I can get a better, close up look at all the elements of the property. I usually explore with another person and I almost never enter any buildings. Mostly because the places I like to see are very derelict, beyond safe. Please be careful if you explore other places. Find out more about old architecture, history and safety while exploring.

What are the top resources urban explorers use to find places to explore?

All good resources but I find connecting with other explorers online is the best way to find locations. Of course, it doesn’t come as easily as DIY. Most other explorers are careful about trusting someone unknown.

how to explorevia – What are the top resources urban explorers use to find places to explore? – Quora.


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
TS Elliot

I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food. – Erma Bombeck

Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way. – David Whyte