Mutatis Mutandis

Following the Idiot Photographer’s cue, I’m going with a Latin title for this post. Mutatis Mutandis is a phrase which means, “having changed that which needed to be changed.” In all three shots, I have rearranged a central object to make for better composition.  Since IP and I just recently had a discussion hashing out the proper etiquette of urban exploring, it seemed a good time to make this a theme of a post. Just what is acceptable behavior for photographers at abandoned sites? I’ve heard the motto “take only pictures, leave only footprints,” but that seems to ascribe too much holiness to these buildings. Certainly the other extreme, wanton destruction and vandalism, is not acceptable. We’re there to document decay, not actively promote it.

What we decided is that it’s hypocritical to have a completely hands-off approach to these places. After all, we aren’t going to grafitti the walls or tear down doors; but someone had to so that we could have our urban ruins to photograph. In the photos below, I made the changes that I felt were necessary and acceptable to be made, mutatis mutandis.





I love the eerie Tricycle of Doom.



If you have a different opinion on the subject of urban exploration etiquette, please share.

5 responses

  1. The tricycle of doom is cool.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    • tabularasa88

      Thanks. It actually freaked me out a bit.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      • I know I woulda crapped myself if it started moving on its own…

        March 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

  2. I certainly agree with the ‘disturb nothing’ approach when in an entirely natural and/or historical environment, like within a forest or park, or the Sistine Chapel. But in an urban ruin I see no reason to treat the site with kid gloves. Damage further? No, definitely not cool, at least not on purpose.

    March 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

    • tabularasa88

      I agree. I think the hipster set may have set the bar a bit high regarding respect for these places. They’re beautiful in their way, but c’mon, they are falling apart.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:59 pm

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