Many Melbournians claim to know the underground side of the city- the camouflaged laneways connecting the hustle and bustle or maybe a couple of hidden bars. Brie, the blogger behind Kitten of Doom, takes this one step further, photographing the city’s truly hidden and abandoned corners.
Urban exploration photography (urbanex for short) is the art of finding old and abandoned buildings and locations, exploring them and taking photos as you go. It’s exciting, potentially dangerous, legally ambiguous and a lot of fun.
“I began visiting abandoned places when I became fascinated with one particular area near where I lived at the time. This was the former Yorkshire Brewery in Collingwood. I used to go there a lot, sometimes to take photos, sometimes just to hang out and enjoy the solitude and quiet. I decided there must be more interesting derelict places around Melbourne and started hunting them down.”
Her photos express this sense of calmness, often shot in the abandoned schools and offices. Decaying memorials to the life that once went on within their walls. Her blog is a mix of personal anecdotes and rants spread intermittently between shots from the roof of Flinders St station and the crumbled plaster walls of a warehouse in Collingwood. She talks about exploring buildings and rooftops in thongs and having drinks on the roofs of abandoned silos.
Brie describes herself as being, “little, and sometimes mean and bitey too… and slightly crazy.” Along with her unusual urbanex hobby she also enjoys, 80’s music, being up high and “drinking beer in the sun in the peace and quiet.”
“The best places I’ve found have almost always been by chance, just from wandering. Catch a train to somewhere you haven’t been before and just explore.” Brie said, adding “sometimes it can be difficult to get the photos I want. Common challenges include low light and physical inaccessibility to ideal shooting positions.” Brie’s advice: be alert and keeping your wits about you. “You never know who or what you will encounter.”