Dutch photographer Niki Feijen immortilizes an astonishingly intact glimpse into the past. This autodidact specializes in documenting and capturing historic architecture and abandoned buildings. Each photo fuses together the conflicting notions of beauty and decay and corresponds with his desire to capture and silently communicate with his audience about the subject’s very essence.
Oftentimes photo shoots with dark settings tend to be problematic without the use of artificial lighting. Dark settings in these conditions causes the highlights, such as windows, to wash out into white or for dark areas to become obscure black blobs. It’s impossible to shoot a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum. With his HDR technique Niki uses different exposures which capture a much wider light spectrum than a traditional photograph.
The result is a hyper realistic photo with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph. The final image would replicate the exact same thing you would see standing inside the location yourself.
In 2010 Feijen visited the quintessential location of desertion: the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. After a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred in 1986 the entire city of Pripyat, all 50,000 inhabitants, were evacuated within 48 hours. Most of the belongings of the evacuated inhabitants were left behind and never returned to again. The incredible deafening silence of this location, in its absence of the living, permeates the senses and mind of visitors who venture to there to this day.
Feijen is currently travelling around the globe looking for more hidden gems tucked away behind ‘Do Not Enter’ signs. Curious about what lies on the other side, he goes in search of the hidden world that is often in plain sight. When Feijen comes across impressive yet eerie locations, such as homes located in ghost towns, asylums, decaying hospitals, abandoned castles and long forgotten hotels, he intends to preserve the what is left of the past by encapsulating these forgotten masterpieces’ ethos in a photo before they crumble and collapse.
The impressions left from these places are represented in visual form for the public in two separate books. Both works, ‘Disciple of Decay’ (April 2013) and ‘Frozen’ (September 2014), have been independently published. The first sold out in six months. On top of these publications, Feijen’s photographs are exhibited at art galleries and international art fairs several times a year. His works have been featured by NBC, BBC, The Huffington Post, ABC News, The Daily Mail and Chase Jarvis, among a variety of others.