Abandoned & Forgotten: A 15-Year Urban Exploration Photo Project

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All images by Jan Stel. Used with permission.

Photographer Jan Stel was born in the Netherlands in 1970, and describes himself as a self-taught fine art photographer and Photoshop artist. We discovered his work on Behance, and found that in his youth, he used to spray graffiti murals in the suburbs of Amsterdam and at home he painted detailed drawings and realistic illustrations. The analogue photo gear from his father was the start of his interest for photography, and inspired him to develop his own creative style. Jan Stel’s photography is made with pure natural light. No flashlights or studio-lamps are used.

Nor does Jan use HDR or other automatic presets. “Photoshop is used to brush the photographed brackets into a sort of light painting, similar in a way old doka-masters and painters do.” says Jan. “The works are toned to extend the atmosphere.”

He started the Abandoned & Forgotten project back in 1998, and it has taken him to many giant structures like craft businesses. Here he finds things like old machinery, beaten up cars, and he’s even explored castles.

We talked to Jan a bit about this form of urban exploration.

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