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As with architectural photography in general, it can be rewarding to pick out details of an abandoned or decaying site to create more obvious links with the past. Words, signs and other immediately recognizable objects can be used to identify the whole site in a very immediate manner. An old farm building might typically contain a rusting tractor or an old cart wheel that can be used to inform the viewer that they are seeing a disused agricultural environment. A close up of a broken water wheel similarly identifies an old mill.

Human touches, such as personal possessions or tools, not only help to identify the purpose of a derelict site but also add scale to an image. Try photographing such items close up with a wide-angle lens to put them in the context of their environment. Each item tells a story even if the story cannot be pinned down. It tells the viewer what went on at the site, how things were left when the site was abandoned, and may also hint a the feelings of the last people to leave. Was there a crisis, and accident or a fire, did the site just just get replaced, or was it closed because the company went out of business?

 

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