Exploring Gunkanjima has always been a dream of mine, and now Google have created the next best thing.
The abandoned island, located 15 KM off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, was once a sprawling coal mining facility.
At one stage, Hashima had the highest population density on Earth.
Today, the island is one of the most untouched historic ruins in the world.
From the 1930s’ until the end of the second world war, Korean and Chinese prisoners-of-war, as well as conscripted Japanese civilians, were forced to work in the undersea coal mine as slave labourers under harsh and dangerous conditions.
When Japan shifted its reliance from coal to oil as it’s main fuel source, mining operations ceased, and in 1974 and the island was deserted.
Hashima was officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2015
Given the difficulty in accessing the island, I’ve put this on the back burner. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing.
Google has been kind enough to map the island and add Gunkanjima to street view.
Do you remember the villain’s secret island hideout in the James Bond movie Skyfall, the one that looked like a decaying industrial wasteland?
That fictional location was actually based on a real place — the island of Hashima off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan. Due to its unique flat shape, the island is most widely known in Japan by its nickname Gunkanjima — aka “Battleship Island.”
While we can’t replicate those unearthly sounds on Google Maps, we can now give you 360° panoramas of the Hashima with today’s launch of Street View imagery for the island.
There is also this beautifully made YouTube video featuring the creation of this Gunkanjima street view. Imagine having this guy’s job. I’m so jealous.
Here’s an exceptional example by Soviet Innerness, of how, just looking at the way you approach an idea, and changing your perspective can produce fresh and elegant results.
I love the way how Elena Amabili and Alessandro Calvaresi have shown with their beautiful project, Soviet Innerness , sometimes a unique idea can be right under your nose if you are willing to be adventurous enough in your thinking and rule nothing.
They’ve managed to create these beautiful images of simple close-ups that offer a full spectrum of entirely different structure but, when joined into a complete set, create this amazing display of unique and surprisingly colourful scenes from an abandoned environment.
When I’m photographing abandoned buildings, I tend to follow a formula of wide-angle compositions. It tends to rely heavily on the architectural and physical features of an entire scene.
Sometimes, especially when shooting large rooms or expansive spaces, and becomes easy to lose sight of the smaller details while in the hunt of just trying to capture everything once.
Just looking at their work makes me want to go and do close ups.
It reminds me of this artist I saw in Centre Pompidou when we visited Paris in 2008.
The moment I saw this artwork I loved it, I can’t quite put my finger on it, It’s something do do with the mix of paint and paper and the way one overlays the other.
I can somehow see the same thing in the artwork by the artist and the inadvertent artwork created by the former residents of these homes.
“Soviet Innerness tells about the places where wallpaper is torn, and Pravda peeks out; where coats of the paint layer, dilapidate, and eerie flowers blossom; where time stands still and the unheimlich is comfortable.”
While exploring dilapidated buildings in Latvia for a photographic project, Elena Amabili and Alessandro Calvaresi found other quieter, more personal remnants of Soviet design.
Originally, the duo was attempting to take impressive wide shots of everything, but in the end, the little details on the walls were the unintentional, stand out feature – so the focus of the shoot changed accordingly.
Smith Journal , is a quarterly, Australia-based publication that takes unexpected, interesting, funny and sometimes complicated stories and tells them the way you would to a bunch of friends at the pub.