In his series ‘Abandoned’, photographer Daniel Regan shares his life-long passion for buildings lost in time. Flaking wood, crumbling walls and fractured light feature in Daniel’s stunning portraits of buildings once filled with the buzz of life. Now forgotten and left to decay, the images uncover an endless vacuum of abandoned memories and belongings - lingering within the unnerving stillness of empty rooms and halls. After graduating from Brighton University in 2006, Daniel has worked on a range of projects, exhibitions and campaigns alongside his ever-expanding portfolio of work. Dazed talks to Daniel about the ‘Abandoned’ project…
Dazed Digital: Where did your fascination with abandoned spaces come from?
Daniel Regan: I have always been intrigued by abandoned and derelict spaces. Growing up I discovered the ruins of a fallen down old house in the forest behind my family home. As soon as I began photographing it was one of my favourite spots. From then on it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to explore and discover other similar locations. The eerie silence and isolation felt whilst inside these buildings is a rush, both peaceful and frightening.
DD: How do you come across the buildings?
Daniel Regan: It depends. Some take a lot of research whilst others have been stumbled upon whilst driving around. Sometimes I won’t discover anything for months and at other times I will dedicate whole weekends with friends seeking out and exploring old asylums, abandoned barns, chapels, mansions and swimming pools.
DD: What draws you to these places?
Daniel Regan: I was first seriously drawn to abandoned asylums in 2005 when I was researching locations for my exam project at university. On Christmas Eve a friend of mine explored for our first time on a large scale, coming back again on Boxing Day. I was blown away by the silence of the buildings, the decay of the contents still left behind, and the often eerie paraphernalia scattered around. At times it feels terrifying walking around enormous muted buildings under collapsed roofs, through underground dark tunnels and over broken floors. But the rewards are always worth it, both personally and as photographic subjects.
What sort of camera do you use and why?
Daniel Regan: I’m a digital geek. I started self-publishing back in 1997 when I picked up my first 1 megapixel camera and started using Photoshop. Since then I’ve remained a solely digital photographer and use a high end Canon digital SLR. Like most people I love the instancy of digital and I thrive on working in different styles that best reflect individual projects.
DD: What are you working on at the moment?
Daniel Regan: I’m forever working on new projects. I’m currently working with two charities shooting campaign images. The first is C.A.L.M and secondly I am working with Alopecia UK photographing women suffering from hair loss. I’ve always been interested in such diverse photographic subjects but body image has remained a key focus. I also have an upcoming collaborative exhibition with artist Philip Levine called ‘Headism’ which launches in London on 4 May.
DD: What does your work say about you?
Daniel Regan: I think that my work’s diversity represents my varied interests in life and the things that I find beautiful. As well as photographing abandoned buildings I’m always shooting portraits and occasionally still life projects such as my Elements project. Previously I tended to find beauty in the darker things in life but these days I enjoy a mixture of light and dark. If I’m not working on an existing project then I’m thinking of the next one – in short I’m never not working.