This was a fun interview with ABC Central West talking to Kia Handley about some of my recent shoots in Regional NSW, such as Blayney Abattoir , Bathurst Gasworks and Kandos Cement Works .
Blayney Abattoir was one of the first galleries I ever posted that went viral on Facebook through the power of community engagement.
There were people from decades back telling their stories of past times from when the Abattoir was still the backbone of Blayney.
It was amazing to watch unfold. It even began the Blayney Abattoir Facebook Group , which grew almost overnight to over 400 members and now have a reunion planned for later in the year.
It was sad too, reading about people who weren’t ready to leave or who were too old to find new employment, others who were forced to relocate due to shortages of work availability.
Many long time friends hadn’t seen each other for decades.
I think it speaks volumes about the impact these closures on a surrounding town when a large scale operation that the town was built to support, leaves .
Conversely, It’s not to say that every business should continue to run at a loss in the name of supporting workers either.
Time and time again, the companies move on to more profitable endeavours while the communities that supported it through its lifetime are faced with either very difficult choices or none at all.
Every time a major business leaves a region, we see the media reports offering its employees support and assistance where it can. But is it ever enough? I mean what is a livelihood and lifelong residency near your friends and family worth?
Do any ever really go back to check how things are going or if there is anything else they can do to help beyond what is required?
Early in 2016, I was invited by my friend Daniel to come and photograph the MV Cape Don at the Balls Head Coal Loader. How could I resist?
When we arrived at the coal loader, the skies had just opened up to the point I couldn’t even get out of the car. It was bucketing down, lightning and all!
So we waited for it to pass and finally got to board the ship for the shoot. We also got to see the old wharf which is on its last legs.
We spent roughly two hours shooting the ship while Daniel taught us about the history. It was interesting to see having never been inside anything like this before. The engine room was something.
When it was time to go. The only the problem is that I’d lost my keys, or so I thought.
I started panicking, madly rummaging through my camera bag in the hope of finding them but no luck.
We retraced our steps throughout the MV Cape Don in the hope my keys would turn up, hopefully, left in a visible spot but we had no luck.
After getting a lift all the way home to pick up a spare set of keys and then coming back at midnight, it turns out that they were in my camera bag all along. They had fallen to one of the bottom compartments.
You live you learn.
This is the actual audio of my ABC Central West interview with Kia Handley that relates to my other blog post you can see here .
I don’t really know what happened in that introduction at the very beginning of this interview, nerves I guess.
This ABC Central West interview was live, although I wasn’t with Kia in the studio, I was on the phone sitting under a tree in a park in Mt Druitt, during work at my (former) real job. It seemed as though I went through a phase of doing this kind of thing, especially early 2016 when things really started to move quickly. I think there was one month where I ended up having something like a dozen media requests! It’s tough keeping Lost Collective ticking over while working a full-time job.
I don’t think that any of my interviews are fully representative of what I am about, it’s difficult to get everything out that I want to in 16 minutes but I think I got pretty close.
In saying all this, I know the content of a blog post is supposed to be informative and engaging, and I do my best where I can but the core of the content here is the audio interview itself. So, I invite you to head over to the ABC NSW Soundcloud page by clicking here and have a listen for yourself.
Well this was Exciting! My first ABC Radio National interview, alongside my friend Tim Frawley from Abandoned Australia .
It was lovely to get to meet Cassie McCullagh in person and a pleasure to discuss the ins and outs of what we do as urban explorers as part of this ABC Radio National interview.
I remember sitting on the couch in the waiting area, my palms were sweating, and I was getting very nervous before speaking, but once we got into it, it was actually very welcoming, and my fears were quickly put to rest.
It was all over before I even realised. When Cassie wrapped up I have to admit; I felt like I was only just getting started. Particularly around something like the ethics of urban exploration.
This is a complicated argument that I think many of my critics out there cherry pick facts when making the argument for the preservation of buildings by not disclosing what they are.
It is worth me noting from the outset that I don’t give out specifics of physical locations. I do name buildings; It is an important part of what I do, and the photo essays are pointless without including the contributions of the communities and the businesses themselves. These people and places should be acknowledged and remembered rather than being allowed to slip away into lost memories.
If you don’t own the building, and you don’t have permission to be there, you have as little credibility as any other vandal, explorer, copper thief or squatter. Isn’t it ironic that the act of an urban explorer breaking into a building is frowned upon within the scene, yet the same people are reliant on someone else breaking in first so they can gain illegal access themselves?
Listen to the full interview here .
I had a chat with Angus Patterson from Insomniac. Angus has been a friend of mine from quite a while back now, dating back to a time when I wasn’t too old to feel out of place in nightclubs. Sign of the times.
While my passion for the nightlife has long since gone, that of Angus is still alive and well, and he continues to write and review music, venues and events on a regular basis.
A few years ago, Angus moved to Berlin reutilizing old buildings and infrastructure, re-adapting redundant industry into modern society is commonplace.
One perfect example of this is Berlins Berghain nightclub. Once an old, inefficient power station which was converted into one of the world’s best known and most exclusive nightclubs. It’s easy to see where the comparison is going with this, right?
While this scenario is unlikely to become a reality for White Bay Power Station when you look at the space and the scale from within the disused, hundred-year-old building, it’s easy to imagine what could become.
Oh, if only I had several hundred million dollars and a government willing to sell off what is probably the most exclusive piece of unused land in all of Australia.
To Angus’ article, click here.
French industry magazine L’usine Nouvelle reached out recently to feature this article on Lost Collective. I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure what the article says, but I think they like my pictures.
It was incredibly humbling to know that somehow, my work has managed to travel all the way to the other side of the globe and has been able to pick up the interest of a french publisher.
How this feature even came about is somewhat of a mystery to me. I never discovered how L’usine Nouvelle found out about me, but the reaction was great and people certainly took interest, so I’m very thankful for that.
This was in the midst of a bit of a media flurry in early 2016 when many publishers had taken an interest in Lost Collective and really contributed to building the profile of the project to what it is today.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a lot to offer on the article itself given the fact it revolves around what you already see in Lost Collective. It’s more of a feature targeted at the French industrial audience of L’usine Nouvelle.
Through his project “Lost Collective”, the artist photographer Brett Patman revives Australian abandoned places: hospitals, gas factories or power plants.
Below is a Google translation of the actual article itself. Apologies if there are some errors in the conversion, but not being able to speak French myself makes accuracy, in this case, difficult.
The project highlights how nature reclaims once the people leave.
After only three months, its site already hosts several hundred pictures of twenty manufacturing sites around Sydney and its region New South Wales on the east coast of the country.
To read more, click here.
The Daily Telegraph Featured pictures from the Lost Collective Balmain Leagues Club gallery. The article went online and in print.
This came out back from a time when the Daily Telegraph, being the impartial media outlet, renowned for quality journalism and integrity that it is, would ask to use my images, rather than simply lifting them from my website without permission or even bothering to credit me.
I’m not sure why there was a need to re-edit my photos for this article and then lower the resolution prior to publishing but hey. What’s done is done.
I think that anyone who has seen the exterior of Balmain Leagues Club, would not be very surprised to see that the interior of the building is in the state that can be seen in my pictures.
The site is a massive eyesore and a blight on the Sydney’s Inner West landscape. It stands as a festering icon of developer greed gone wrong and the future of the building lies in limbo with no end in sight. Much to the detriment of anyone who lives nearby.
Take a look at the article below and hear what some of the involved parties have to say about this mess and what is (or isn’t) being done about it.
This year marks seven years since the Balmain Leagues Club was sold for $1 in exchange for its buyer inheriting the club’s $22million-plus debt.
But a series of shocking photos captured by Sydney photographer Brett Patman shows just how far the once-proud building has fallen into disrepair.
Squatters have taken up residence, floors are rotting from water damage and almost every wall has been covered in graffiti.
To read the online article, click here .
This article in Domain was the digital version of my feature in Sydney Morning Herald, and the beginning of a wave of media exposure during the infancy of Lost Collective that really helped to propel the project to where it is today.
I’m really grateful for this opportunity from Domain and SMH, it really opened up some doors and I even met some amazing people as a result of this article.
It’s somewhat difficult to get used to seeing your own words splashed all over a major media outlet. Somehow it never seems to come out the way I intend but maybe that’s down to my own pickiness. Either way I’m still very happy for the feature and thankful for the awareness it brought to Lost Collective.
This article ended up on the desks of many people I know, Including people who I worked with for my day job at the time. I guess this was a turning point in that career where the writing was on the wall that I was close to making up my mind which direction the rest of my career was going to head.
Below is an excerpt from the article and a link to the online version so you can read it in full.
Once, Australia’s abandoned buildings played a huge role in people’s lives, as factories, power stations, hospitals, abattoirs, brickworks. Now they’re deserted – waiting for a new life or simply forgotten. But to one photographer, they’re still beautiful.
Driving around in his work as a service technician, Brett Patman became captivated by the sight of so many abandoned buildings around Sydney and Melbourne.
Once, they played a huge role in people’s lives, as factories, power stations, hospitals, abattoirs, brickworks … every kind of working and living environment. But now they’ve been deserted, left to be reclaimed by nature or waiting patiently for a fresh lease of life, and yet somehow quite beautiful in their desolation.
To see the the article on Domain, click here .
Domain Group, a Fairfax Media business, is one of Australia’s leading multi-platform property industry destinations.
Creators reached out for an interview in February, so we had a chat about all things Lost Collective.
This feature for Creators was right at the start of Lost Collective when the project was just three months old and receiving local and international recognition. I think I had three major features in this week alone!
It was a very exciting thing to see the pictures being so well received and connecting with so many people on a personal level. Especially people who are connected to the places I shoot in one way or another, be that former workers, residents, visitors, patrons etc.
It’s nothing short of amazing to see people recounting stories of real life history from their experiences in the very rooms that appear in the photographs displayed.
I touched on some of the work I’ve done recently, as well as what I have in the pipeline, including a trip to Japan where there is certainly no shortage of abandoned buildings.
As I mention in this Creators article the creme de la creme of abandoned Japanese buildings would easily be Gunkanjima, otherwise known as Hashima or Battleship Island. A long deserted coal mining facility off the coast of Nagasaki which was once the most densely populated place on earth
The island is a sprawling urbex wonderland, left untouched for decades. You can see more about Gunkanjima here .
Mould creeps down from the ceiling of the decaying control room of the White Bay Power Station in New South Wales, yet a bright white light streams through the window.
The scene is bleak and haunting for photographer Brett Patman, whose new project aims to capture historical abandoned buildings before they’re gone.
His Lost Collective project focuses on nature’s reclamation of abandoned spaces like old hospitals, power stations, gasworks, and slaughterhouses.
To read the article, click here.
Creators is VICE’s arts and culture vertical, covering every aspect of modern creativity.
Curbed called all the way from New York to talk with me about Lost Collective and shooting industrial relics and abandoned factories.
The interview was part of “Behind the Lens”, which looks at architectural photographers both professional and amateur, examining how they got their start, stories from their portfolios, and tricks to capturing great design.
I have to admit that I had never even heard of Curbed before they reached out for this interview. I’m glad they did in the end, Curbed has since become one of my favourite websites.
Given the quality of the content they post and the other creative minds they interview, it was quite humbling to have Curbed think of me for this interview.
Like many who find themselves entranced by sprawling factories, deteriorating buildings, and abandoned industrial sites, Syndey-based photographer Brett Patman was blown away by the scale.
But unlike others drawn to massive relics, Patman had a decent sense of how much of it worked.
A former “fitter and turner,” better known as a machinist, Patman spent hours as a service technician exploring these sites.
He had been an amateur photographer for years—streetscapes, street art, “all the normal things everyone would photograph”—before curiosity got the better of him, and he turned his lens on the country’s industrial heritage.
After shooting inside an abandoned denim factory, he was hooked, and soon started Lost Collective, a website, Instagram account, and Facebook page dedicated to documenting images and stories of factories, plants, and other abandoned workspaces.
Curbed spoke with Patman about the meaning of “ruin porn,” the best way to capture larger-than-life subjects, and the benefits of asking politely instead of scaling fences.
To read the interview, click here.
Since 2004, Curbed has been an integral part of the online housing industry, and by providing analysis, coverage, and insight, Curbed applies an editorial lens to the onslaught of information.