When we visited Yubari in Japan, Family School Fureai was the first abandoned building we photographed.
It’s interesting to notice the difference of the condition of abandoned buildings in Japan to Australia. Mainly the fact that they have an acute absence of graffiti minus some kanji scrawled on a chalkboard.
Coincidentally, this was also Sal’s first time in an abandoned building. Exciting!
I don’t think the same affinity for actually going inside abandoned buildings is as prevalent with Sal, but she still makes good company.
There was also a massive seal in one of the Family School Fureai corridors. Probably one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen while shooting an abandoned building.
The scenario there with Sal having not seen this seal was to as gently as possible, saying “Hey Sal, there’s something in this next part you need to see. Now, just remember when you see this, it’s not real, but you gotta see it!”.
So technically it was real. But to be more specific it was really Taxidermy. In all honesty, I had no idea that seals are even capable of growing this big.
You see something new every day.
I have to admit that when I first turned the corner and saw this, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was seeing, but I think my internal panic response was suggesting a bear!
“These haunting photographs offer a glimpse into a once-bustling Japanese school building, left to crumble into ruin after being abandoned.
The derelict classrooms and corridors of Yubari’s Asahi Elementary School were once filled with children of all ages, but now they are left waterlogged, vandalised and riddled with decay.”
To see the full article, click here .
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This gallery was the product of four days wandering the streets of Yubari, taking snippets of occupied and abandoned buildings from those and joining them into this gallery.
Before this trip, I always envisioned Japan as a sprawling tech hub where everything is illuminated and busy. It can even become an assault on the senses. I’ve been four times now. I won’t be surprised if we go four more. We love Japan. It’s an amazing culture to immerse yourself in.
So, as we travelled further from the city centres to the regional towns and rural areas found withing an hour or two of the city centres, I saw a very different Japan to what I’d seen before.
In smaller villages and hamlets, instead of continuations of the small family businesses, the younger generation abandon the store or farm in seek of better work opportunities found in more populated places.
The communities begin to fade away and the buildings that they lived and work from become abandoned.
Our excellent tour guide for a day in Yubari was Sato San.
Sato San is part of a group of volunteers, historians, aficionados and advocates called the Shimizusawa Project , who work to preserve the history of Yubari and its importance in the story of the Japans industrialisation.
Having always been a massive fan of Nikon used the gear from the beginning to now, I was chuffed to have been featured in My Nikon Life.
Even better was the fact that they were kind enough to lend me a Nikon D810 instead of having to use my old Nikon D7000 with AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED , AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED lenses, and take it to Japan no less, on the simple request that I try to not ‘destroy’ the gear.
Seemed like a fair ask to me.
This was one of the most fun-filled adventures of my life to date. I was just working in a job, unsatisfied with how my life was turning out and having been that way for 17 years.
We took this trip to Japan, and I resigned from my job two weeks later to focus on Lost Collective. Truth be told it has been a lot harder than I expected.
I’ve been chipping away through the photos, still to this day, processing, editing, metadata, research, copywriting and publishing plus trying to keep on top of new stuff for the future!
But I wouldn’t do it unless I loved it.
In a world of truly mindblowing photographers that Nikon supports, I am eternally grateful to have been able to fit into the picture to tell my story.
It was Friday night, and we had just returned from Japan after three weeks in search of abandoned buildings. The car had broken down just outside the ABC studio right before our pre-arranged interview, so while my wife and daughter waited in the car for our friend to come and help, I spoke to Sarah Mashman of ABC Hobart about Lost Collective and the way the project reconnects the communities it engages.
It was out of regular hours, and when I got to the reception desk, there was confusion about whether I was even supposed to be there. Well, I knew I was supposed to be there but the guard manning the desk didn’t.
The interview almost didn’t go ahead, the security guard wasn’t going to let me in, but luckily, at the last minute we got through the name mix up and onward to the only studio (so it seemed) to still have anyone in it.
So, we got to talking about things and stuff, and it was all recorded with a link to the interview provided at the end of this post if anyone is keen to have a listen.
It’s funny to note that the interview was here in Sydney, but Sarah was in Hobart. Can you tell the distance in the conversation?
Anyway, in the end, it was a lovely chat with Sarah and we managed to get the car battery sorted, so the night turned out to be a fun little adventure in itself.
I’d been in touch with the Cundletown & Lower Manning Historical Society Inc to try and piece together some of the history behind a shoot I’d done at the abandoned Peters’ Ice Cream Factory in Taree .
The timing of this post was fortunate to align with the 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival Heritage Festival.
The Society had organised a reunion for the local dairy workers, past and present who dedicated their lives and in many cases still do, to the dairy industry of the region, including the Peters’ Ice Cream Factory.
The week before the event, I was sent a document outlining the history of my photos of the long abandoned buildings thanks to Jo Barlin of Barlin Milk.
I worked away frantically writing copy to fill the captions the 800mm square dining table in a tiny airbnb apartment in Maebashi, Japan.
It was a bit of a rush job, but by all accounts, the reunion went well.
The post itself became an announcement aimed towards of the former workers of the Manning River & Cundletown dairy industries.
Laura Polson of The Manning River Times got in touch to publish an article coinciding with the reunion. As it turns out, even Laura herself descends from a family of dairy farmers.
We did a good email interview, and the news article also got the word out of the day before the reunion.
I think even a few members of the general public went along to the reunion to see the ice cream and butter making demonstrations. I wish I could have made it for that!
The remnants of Peters Ice Cream Factory in Taree have been captured by a Sydney based photographer through his project ‘Lost Collective’.
He shares the photos online to engage everyday people by, “encouraging them to reconnect with former lives and sometimes former friends.”
If you’d like to see the article in the Manning River Times, click here .
The Manning River Times has been proudly serving the people of the Manning Region, on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, since 1869.
I loved this article in Commercial Real Estate giving a fascinating insight into the history of Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont.
Image Credit: Noel Butlin Archives , Australian National University , Tooth & Co. Yellow Cards, Terminus Hotel Pyrmont – AU NBAC N60-YC-700
It was actually in the first article by Commercial Real Estate with its report that Terminus hotel was going under the hammer that gave me the idea to make some inquiries with the agent, JLL .
Everything after that is history, but I’m sure glad I asked the question.
Ways Terrace in Pyrmont, Sydney, around the 1920s. Photo: National Library of Australia .
So, over to the article, I do like the way Jack has explained the functions of an inner city working class pub through the years to serve as a meeting place due to an absence of ordinary working class families to have room for people to gather in their homes.
Business Insider was the first of a multitude of publications to jump on these photos from Terminus Hotel.
After publishing my Gallery of the long abandoned Terminus Hotel . It started to go viral within the first 20 minutes of being live. Over then next fortnight or so, the post would go on to reach over 800,000 people on Facebook alone.
I remember a colleague at work commented to me that at least a dozen of his friends of who we have no connection whatsoever have also shared the Facebook post to their profiles.
I didn’t actually know of this article in Sydney Morning Herald . I mean, I know about the feature from my earlier blog post obviously, but maybe it was just one I missed.
There may be a slightly distorted truth in this article about how I’ve “been quietly letting himself into deserted buildings and institutions”.
The truth is far more complicated than that and is up for interpretation depending on who you ask.
It’s always going to be that way. So in asking me how I do get in, well, that I’ll leave it up to you to ponder.
Regardless, to feature in SMH again was very humbling, and I’m very thankful for the support I’ve received from Fairfax over the past year.
There’s lots on the radar for this coming year! Not the least all this Japanese content I built up over the next month following from this article. On top of this I keep searching for opportunities to shoot and document new and exciting buildings.
I’m playing with the idea of gradually relaxing the focus Lost Collective so that it isn’t so heavily reliant on urban exploration.
I’d like to start including more of the photos I take that aren’t as reliant on HDR and post processing.
I love getting out and catching some landscape and moving water photography with some nice and slow ND Filters like the Lee Little and Big Stoppers and my B+W Circular Polirizing Filter . I love playing around with these, especially in mountain streams and sea scapes.
I feel like it has a place here in Lost Collective too. Just where?
Brett Patman’s photographs of abandoned building interiors evoke a strong sensory response – one can almost hear the paint flakes crackling underfoot and breathe the stale air.
Over the past five years he’s been quietly letting himself into deserted buildings and institutions and photographing their dark, haunting interiors, heavy with the echoes of activity but bereft of life.
It was working as a mechanical technician in places like factories, power stations and foundries that piqued Patman’s interest in documenting the architecture of decay. He began exploring beyond the barricades of tumbledown structures and time and time again discovered narratives of past eras. So began Patman’s one-man photography project, the Lost Collective.
To see the original article, click here.
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I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to this interview I did with Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon .
I probably should, seeing it’s the most in-depth interview I’ve done, but I hate listening to my own voice.
This was recorded while I was still working full time in between weekend urbex adventures. It was in between a job, and we had to find a quiet public space to have the phone interview.
We parked at the end of an industrial area, and I walked across a couple of parks to get to a football field where I waited for the call to come through from New Zealand.
I was actually starting to get a little bit nervous so I started walking laps while waiting to do the interview. When it was time to record, I hadn’t stopped walking laps!
Kathryn obviously picked up on something and during the interview and asked if I was moving around. My cover was blown! Can you tell in the audio that I’m walking?
In the end, it was a good chat, we got into urban exploration, histories, communities and photography of course, and I’m very thankful to Radio New Zealand for taking an interest in my work.
You can listen to the full interview here
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?