Urban exploring: interview with the ninja

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This is a first-time interview for Grayfox, a fine photography artist that loves exploring abandoned places and taking pictures of his trips. I've been following his work for quite some time, and he gave me this opportunity to ask him about what he does, and why he does it. Much thanks and kudos to the man; I think he let me post this just to give me something decent to write about... I wouldn't blame him.

An interview with the ninja

He doesn't actually know how to climb fences, but he points and shoots quite well but he's a great photographer and king of the world (Geez dude...).

Snipe: What's the name of what you do?
Grayfox: Well it goes by many names... the most common is Urban Exploration, which honestly is a bit of a misnomer.
Snipe: Misnomer?
Grayfox: Well, it isn't always urban; generally, it isn't even close to an urban area.Many factories are in the woods, close to a water source, asylums are generally set back a bit from urban areas, that sort of thing.
Snipe: Why did you start? I mean, what motivated you to do it?
Grayfox: Well originally, it was just out of boredom on a summer night... me and my friends wanting to go to the spooky asylum and try to scare ourselves. But once you go there, its a weird feeling... you sort of realize that there were once people here... they were living there, working there, eating there, learning there, and dying there, and that takes a bit to set in. Then you have to understand the history of these places, some are so infamous that people around the world know them; some are just backwater places. Where I started, it was locally well known, but not too well.
Snipe: Nice!
Grayfox: Not to say it wasn't destroyed and grafittied, but it was sort of our own special place. Then after I went enough times, I started bringing a camera to capture the place.
Snipe: Yeah, don't jump to my next question you dumb dumb.
Grayfox: Haha sorry.
Snipe: How did you start taking pictures, and why?
Grayfox: It was just to be able to show my family and friends what I was doing and where I was going... I was bringing along just a point and shoot and taking terrible pictures. As it went on though it evolved to wanting to capture the location, the history...
Snipe: ...and that's where you started getting worried about taking good pictures, I suppose.
Grayfox: yes... I didn’t just want to show the location, I wanted to show it off.
Snipe: How legal is it?
Grayfox: It is generally a simple trespassing charge, but a lot more can come with it... If you "make" an entrance, that's breaking and entering, you take something from there, its theft, you have a lighter in your pocket and the cops aren’t in a good mood, they can try to peg you with attempted arson, and then the trespassing charges vary from location to location.
Snipe: but is it illegal everywhere anyway?
Grayfox: Not always.
Grayfox: If there aren’t any trespassing signs, you can generally get away with it, especially if you claim ignorance. Plus you sometimes can get permission to go to certain locations.
Snipe: And what about the pictures you take? Are they also illegal if you enter a place illegally?
Grayfox: Honestly, it is such a gray area; it depends on how much the cops want to push. I have known people that have gotten in trouble based on pictures alone, but id say in 97% of the cases, if they don't catch you on premises, they can't or won't do anything.
Snipe: So you can publish them, even if they were taken on illegal terms?
Grayfox: Yes, people have books and websites with these pictures of places all over the world.
Snipe: Would you think you'd still do it if it was legal? I mean, everywhere.
Grayfox: Yes... although there is a slight rush because it is illegal, I do it for much more than just that.
Snipe: Have you ever been to jail because of it?
Grayfox: No, but that’s not to say I haven’t run into issues before.
Snipe: Have they been worth it? I mean, given all you've done and seen.
Grayfox: Running into the cops? Yea it was worth it... but I mean if you look at it for a ratio or just simply by the numbers, I’ve had 3 run-ins with the cops for hundreds of trips I have taken.
Snipe: Hundreds?
Grayfox: Well, I haven’t been to hundreds of locations, but I have been to the locations hundreds of times. I mean, the first place I ever went to, over time, I ended up going 73 times.
Snipe: But why are places just left and forgotten? I mean, they're buildings, some of them still can be used, I suppose.
Grayfox: Well… abandoned, I guess, is a misnomer as well... they are abandoned as in not being used/left alone, but they are generally owned by people or companies. There are so many reasons why a place could be abandoned: a company could have folded, the asylum was shut down because the state closed it, the house became abandoned because the family couldn’t pay the mortgage, the school closed because there weren't enough students. There are many reasons why.
Snipe: Do you think all urban explorers are all motivated by the same things you are?
Grayfox: No.
Snipe: I suppose some of them go there to tear the place apart, or do very illegal things.
Grayfox: Yes, I mean abandoned places are perfect for parties.
Snipe: So what motivates you now?
Grayfox: Capturing the locations before they either fall down due to the elements and time, or because of the wrecking ball. These places have so much history, with some being hundreds of years old, and they are just being ripped down to put in condos... I try to go to these places before that happens so people later on can look at these and see what was; while it is not it its prime, you can still see the beauty these places had, and if no one documents them, then they are goneforever, and that is something that should never happen.
Snipe: And where do you see in the future? Will you still be doing it the way you are, as an activity you do on your free time?
Grayfox: I plan to write books about these locations. I see myself always doing this because as weird as it sounds, I never feel more comfortable with this, than I do when surrounded by the decay of a building. Plus I don’t want these places to be forgotten, I always want a record to be there.
Snipe: Well dude, best of luck with it.
Grayfox: Thank you very much.

It's interesting to notice that creativeness can come from forsaken things, disregarding if they are ideas, thoughts, or actual places; and to see how even illegal things can turn out to be... just cool enough.

And yes, you may have noticed he's not a ninja. So I lied... HAH! Sue me.

6 comentarios :

Virginia dijo...

First off...daaaaaaamn, man! I could fall in love with a guy with such a great eye for images: a trespasser, an artist..jeez!

I wish I would've taken those shots. :(

Secondly, I still feel like one of those groupies standing outside the gates, waiting for...eah...anything to happen.

Last, but not least, Snipedia: an elitist blog for bilingual people "I´ll translate it...later" PROCASTINATION is the word!

Anónimo dijo...

What a great subject for an interview!

These places can live on forever in his pictures and, hopefully, in that book he mentioned.

~Emily Rose

Anónimo dijo...

I wish I had something meaningful to say like everyone else :(


Anónimo dijo...


Anónimo dijo...

Really though .. to make it official .. i'm not anonymous.

Fernanda dijo...

oou yeah! open de windou clos de dor.

japi niu yir =D