Matt Nickles of Dayton Ohio is a new type of explorer. An Urban Explorer…Urbex for short. Rather than photograph people, he photographs the effects of people by documenting the things they leave behind by entering abandoned buildings, schools, churches and even subways. Basically Matt is an historian. These places can be dangerous, so it’s not for the foolhardy. Personally I find it fascinating.
Here’s an explanation from Matt, in his own words, about what he does and why he does it. Plus more than a few words of caution for those of us who want to try it ourselves.
“Take only photos, leave only footprints” a motto that would take a hold of my life! Hi there, my name is Matt Nickles(OhioRed). They say good things can come from bad situations and that is exactly what happened to me. Let me explain!
Prior to Covid I was an avid hiker and nature will always be my first love! Then Covid happened. I noticed the trails quickly became packed with other people looking to escape the confinement of home. To me, nature was my escape from people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an extrovert to the bone. But, we all need a break from the world and society and nature was mine.
Now, I was stuck looking for a hobby without the cluster of people. I had always had this fascination with the Cincinnati Subway. So, to Google and Facebook I went. Took me just a couple days but I had set up a trip to get in and explore the remains of the forgotten subway. Before I go forward, I don’t condone any trespassing. I do this to capture the history before Mother Nature takes over. Next thing you know, I’m standing beneath the city of Cincinnati and can hear the foot traffic and cars on the street above me. Now, I find myself chasing light to capture that moment in time.
The greatest joy I get from this is the moment to stand at the center of some of these structures and just listen and smell and imagine what it was like in its prime with all the busy people and loud machines running. I make sure to respect all places I visit and to leave only footprints. I’ve found myself from coast to coast and from Michigan to Destin Florida in my travels. I’ve also found there isn’t a place that I’ve encountered that doesn’t have a story to tell.
I welcome you to take a look at my work and see if you may recognize any of these locations and may have a story of your own to tell? Safe explores!