After buying his first camera in 2012, Stefan Baumann began the Abandoned Europe project, setting off on an artistic adventure to find and document interesting derelict buildings in different locations across Europe. The expedition led to him visiting 400 abandoned sites, in 15 countries across the continent, over a four year period.
One of his favourite aspects of shooting abandoned areas is seeing how nature can take over an unoccupied space. “I’ve seen gigantic hallways totally overgrown with ivy, creating a surreal and dreamy atmosphere. I love it when nature takes back what was once hers and when there are visible signs that even massive architectural structures can’t stand the power of nature. The contrast between old places and new life growing from what looks like a hostile surrounding is what keeps me doing it”, Stefan told Lonely Planet News,
From tiny crumbled houses in Belgium, to abandoned castles in France, the Abandoned Europe project showcases a variety of different historical spaces that still stand. The photographs include a selection of asylums across Italy that shows just how far medical and psychological treatments have progressed in recent years. The project also shows vehicles, religious buildings and former homes that now sit unoccupied.
“Most people can’t believe the places I document are really unoccupied. There are always the same questions like ‘how can something beautiful become abandoned?’ or ‘why isn’t there anybody who wants to renovate this place?’ and I have to admit, I sometime ask myself these questions too. Sadness is a big emotion when looking at my photos, sometimes mixed with a little fear. But there is hope in my photos too.”