Abandoned architecture and forgotten heritage

A shot of a brick reservoir in London's Finsbury Park has been selected as the best architecture photograph of the year at the Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards 2016.

The image, taken by British photographer Matt Emmett, captures the brick arches of the covered reservoir, which was designed by the East London Waterworks Company in 1868.

Emmett's speciality is capturing scenes of ruined or derelict architecture, and he runs the website Forgotten Heritage. The architecture through Emmett’s lens seem like alien landscapes than places once alive with sound and movement. Hauntingly still, these spaces fall silent in their vacancy, their immense beauty surfacing without the distraction of people and sound.

“There is a thrill in exploring an environment that allows you to step into a previously unknown world and discover something first hand, taking your time and noting the details as you go. Having a camera with me allows me to prolong that thrill long after the building is gone. It’s an often quoted cliché but there really is a strong sense of palpable history present in abandoned buildings, the items left behind like paperwork in a drawer or plaques or signs in an industrial plant, allow you a glimpse into the past. I consider experiencing these places to be a great privilege. From the point of view of a photographer there is a total lack of distraction in the stillness of a derelict building; the sound and movement associated with people or workers has been removed, for me this makes them far more sensory than when they are occupied. Your mind can easily focus on what is around you and takes in so much more. The building’s voice is clear and a character and visual aesthetic emerges that was much harder to notice than if it were a busy, populated environment. Capturing this character and stillness comes across well in the photos and is something my audience tells me they love about the images.”

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