Capturing the past – Heritage photography

I’ve always loved photographing forgotten buildings and sites, exploring history through what remains, long after the people who once occupied the spaces have gone. There is a beauty in the stillness of these places, in the colours and textures, the randomness and nature reclaiming what is man made.

Matt Emmett is a British heritage photographer, who in my opinion, has captured some truly stunning images of derelict buildings and sites across the UK, but also abroad. Discover more of his work at Forgotten Heritage and on Facebook.

Forgotten+Heritage+01

Forgotten Heritage - photo by Matt Emmett

Forgotten Heritage – photo by Matt Emmett

Forgotten Heritage - photo by Matt Emmett

Forgotten Heritage – photo by Matt Emmett

 

In 2007 I took a series of photographs of Haugasetra, the site of my great aunt Beret’s summer pasture on Ertvågøya, a small island off the west coast of Norway. The photographs were all taken with a medium format film camera and developed by myself. Together with a poem by Beret they formed part of a photography exhibition held in Leicester, June 2007.

Haugasetra - Ertvågøya, Norway

Haugasetra – Ertvågøya, Norway

During the summer Beret would walk up to the pasture every evening to milk her cows, separate the milk to make rømme (sour cream) and churn butter. She would stay overnight in a small log cabin and sell sour cream to local visitors.

Visiting Haugasetra brings back memories of still summer nights sitting on the bed with the fire crackling, listening to Beret tell stories. Her notebook lies on the table, the stones she collected on the window sill. Now there is a quiet, calm silence and a familiar scent of timber, ash and mountain grass.

Haugasetra cabin - Ertvågøya, Norway

Haugasetra cabin – Ertvågøya, Norway

Haugasetra cabin - Ertvågøya, Norway

Haugasetra cabin – Ertvågøya, Norway

Ertvågøya, once a thriving farming and fishing community, is now in rapid decline as younger generations move away to find employment. With the advancement in technology, old traditions and ways of life are being forgotten and valuable knowledge lost. Haugasetra has remained empty for a number of years and the traditional methods of farming have all ceased.

Haugasetra cabin window - Ertvågøya, Norway

Haugasetra cabin window – Ertvågøya, Norway

My photographs record evidence of the past in the hope that, one day, future generations will be able to trace their legacy.

Aside from their beauty, I believe heritage photographs can play an important role in providing a record of buildings and sites of historical interest, before they are lost forever.

A different perspective – Drone Photography

Have you ever read National Geographic and marvelled at the almost abstract beauty of a landscape photographed from the air? Well, in 2014 National Geographic sponsored the first ever drone photography competition in association with Dronestagram, a site dedicated to this unique style of aerial photography.

The photographs submitted cover scenes from around the world. Drone images offer a more intimate perspective on familiar and new sites, different from those taken from satellites, planes and helicopters.

The winning image is of a beautiful eagle, soaring majestically above a national park in Indonesia.

Eagle over Bali Barat National Park in Indonesia

Eagle over Bali Barat National Park in Indonesia

 

These are a few of my favourite images from a selection of the most stunning drone pictures from 2014 – including a very cool selfie:

Baltoro Glacier, Karakorum, Pakistan

Baltoro Glacier, Karakorum, Pakistan

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Praia da Bacutia em Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil

Praia da Bacutia em Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil

Advances in drone technology coupled with affordable, light, compact, high-resolution cameras, has brought us a whole new genre of beautiful aerial photography and video. However, as the number of drones filling our skies is increasing, so are concerns over privacy and safety. 2015 may well see stricter regulations imposed by regulatory bodies across the globe.

A drone was recently found on the Whitehouse lawn, leading to a lockdown – read the news article here.

Let’s hope this doesn’t limit drone photography to professionals only. In my opinion these images, taken mainly by drone hobbyists, are truly stunning!