Geek Ink – Inkstinct

My first tattoo was a prize from a cereal box. I’ve been fascinated by tattoos ever since. The main reason I don’t actually have one is because I change my mind so frequently about the designs that I love. I do have a pretty extensive collection of temporary tattoos though, so I get to change my mind and designs every week.

I love the idea of this book. The first part features the work of twenty-five tattoo artists from around the world. The second part showcases tattoos grouped by theme. They’re advertised as geeky tattoos so this should have been the tattoo book of my dreams.

There were some amazing designs and some extraordinarily talented artists in this book but a good portion of them weren’t anything close to what I’d call geeky. There were plenty of Star Wars and Harry Potter tattoos and others from well known movies and TV series, along with some maths and science designs. I really liked the gorgeous flowers and realistic animals but they didn’t seem to belong in this book.

A short bio of each featured artist is accompanied by their Instagram name and links to their portfolio and website (where available), along with a selection of their work. Although I liked at least one example from each artist, the artist whose work I enjoyed the most was David Cote from Canada.

description

My favourite designs in the second part of the book were:

description
Inverted Mandalas by Matteo Nangeroni
description
Beetlejuice by Little Andy
description
Darth Vader by Felipe Kross

My favourite design that I don’t consider geeky was:

description
Swallow in Flight by Diana Severinenko

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Race Point Publishing, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Exhibiting cutting-edge designs from the most sought-after and acclaimed contemporary tattoo artists worldwide, Geek Ink presents magnificent ideas for tattoos on themes from science fiction and fantasy, as well as a wide range of topics across science, mathematics, literature, and philosophy.

With commentary from creators of the Inkstinct project – which connects people with the finest tattoo art from 380,000 studios worldwide and has an Instagram fan base of more than 1 million – as well as interviews with world-renowned masters like Eva Krbdk, David Cote and Thomas Eckeard, this is the definitive tattoo inspiration sourcebook for hipsters, bookworms, scientists, academics, engineers, and, of course, geeks!

After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters – Matt Lambros

I’ve loved abandoned places photography since I first learned of its existence. Although I’ve enjoyed poring over photographs of many abandoned places, including castles, hospitals and amusement parks, this is the first book I’ve read that focuses exclusively on theatres.

Featuring the history and photographs of twenty abandoned theatres, Matt Lambros took me on a journey through America. The theatres included in this book are located in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

My favourite photograph is from the interior of Loew’s Majestic Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut. There’s a haunting quality to this image, with its blend of light and shadow, and it makes me want to ascend those stairs to find out what’s beyond them.

One thing I absolutely adored in this particular book is a feature I haven’t come across in other abandoned places photography books I’ve loved – images that highlight what a building looked like in its prime contrasted with ones that show its decay over time. Somehow being able to view the before and after side by side is both fascinating and even sadder than seeing the after in isolation.

The passage of time has caused RKO Proctor’s Theatre in Newark, New Jersey to be almost unrecognisable when compared to its heyday.

Then there’s Detroit, Michigan’s United Artists Theatre, whose Spanish Gothic interior had a creepiness to it even before time stripped away some of its shine. This is the theatre I most want to see in person.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jonglez Publishing and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

In the early 20th century the streets of small towns and cities across America were filled with the lights and sounds of movie theaters. The most opulent – known as “movie palaces” – were designed to make their patrons feel like royalty; people would dress up to visit. But as time went on it became harder and harder to fill the 2,000+ seat theaters and many were forced to close.

Today, these palaces are illuminated only by the flicker of dying lights. The sound of water dripping from holes in the ceiling echoes through the auditoriums. In After the Final Curtain (Volume 2) internationally-renowned photographer Matt Lambros continues his travels across the United States, documenting these once elegant buildings.

From the supposedly haunted Pacific Warner Theatre in Los Angeles to the Orpheum Theatre in New Bedford, MA, which opened the same day the Titanic sank, Lambros pulls back the curtain to reveal what is left, giving these palaces a chance to shine again.

Abandoned Palaces – Michael Kerrigan

I love abandoned places photography! I adore the atmosphere, the haunting quality of the images and imagining the history of the buildings and those who have lived in or visited them.

Most of the collections of abandoned places I’ve seen have focused on the buildings’ interiors. This book includes some interior photos as well as some bird’s-eye view shots that show an interesting blend of interior and exterior. However, a greater proportion show the overall exterior of the building, with sections of facades crumbling on some and nature overrunning others, and I really enjoyed those photos. I particularly liked those that highlight the contrast between neglected architecture and flourishing greenery surrounding it (and oftentimes growing over it).

The descriptions that accompany each image are succinct; you learn enough to provide context but not so much that the information overwhelms the picture. Each section includes a short introduction to the overall location: The Americas and Caribbean, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific.

Each time I look through this book (three times so far) different photos catch my eye and details I’ve previously missed stand out. I do have a few favourites that I expect will remain, no matter how many times I return. The one that stands out the most and that I most desperately need to visit is Pidhirsti Palace in Lviv, Ukraine.

The original photo by LALS STOCK can be found on Shutterstock here. Editing of the image in this book (or it may be because I’m reading an ARC) has given it a creepier feel than the original, but that has added to my love for this particular photo.

Although the colour feels off (again, this could be due to my viewing an ARC on an iPad) my favourite photo that showed some interior was of Ladendorf Castle in Mistelbach, Austria.

I loved that this open door felt like an invitation and, although it’s actually a courtyard you’re getting a glimpse of, I immediately imagined that a path out of view behind this building would lead intrepid explorers to another world. (That is one of the reasons why I love photography so much; it awakens my imagination.) This photo of Ladendorf Castle is by Viennaslide and can be found on Alamy here.

I was quite disappointed to learn that the photos were all sourced from stock image sites: 123RF, Alamy, Dreamstime, FLPA, Getty Images, Globallookpress.com, iStock and Shutterstock. In the past I’ve enjoyed collections of abandoned places photos by a single artist; I find this provides more of a cohesive feel to the project and gives me a sense of their ‘eye’ by the end of the book. I also enjoy the anecdotes a photographer can provide based on their experiences shooting at specific locations.

These details are missing here; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is certainly something I would have liked to have known before I started reading/looking. Also missing are the interior photos that show details of abandoned items that I love to pore over; they provide a small but important connection for me to the history of the buildings and the people who spent time there.

To be taken with a grain of salt as this relates to the ARC: There were some photos that appeared underexposed and others that appeared to have been edited so the colour was unnaturally saturated in places. These may be artistic choices by the individual photographers or the book’s editor or could be due to the fact that I viewed an advanced copy on an iPad. These comments may be entirely irrelevant once this book has been published.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amber Books for the opportunity to view this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From imperial residences and aristocratic estates to hotels and urban mansions, Abandoned Palaces tells the stories behind dilapidated structures all around the world.

Built to impress, built with style and grandeur, built, above all, to last: it’s all the more remarkable when buildings such as these fall into disrepair and become ruins. From ancient Roman villas to the French colonial hill station in Cambodia that was one of the final refuges of the Khmer Rouge, Abandoned Palaces charts the decline of what were once the homes and holiday resorts of the super wealthy.

Ranging from crumbling hotels in the Catskills or in Mozambique, to grand mansions in Taiwan, to an unfinished Elizabethan summerhouse, to a modern megalomaniac’s partially completed estate, they were deserted for reasons including politics, bankruptcy, personal tragedies, natural and man-made disasters, and changing tastes and fashions. Filled with stunning, nostalgic images, this volume is a brilliant and moving examination of worlds left behind.

American Carnival – David Skernick

The nostalgia I experienced paging through this book was so much fun! Each year growing up I’d look forward to the Show (regional Australia carnival) coming to town. It would be in town for three days each year and it was a big deal; we even got a day off school on the Friday because it was a regional public holiday when I was growing up.

I’d feel like the most important person in the world when the ferris wheel stopped at the top, allowing me a bird’s eye view of the other rides. The local newspaper would list all of the different show bags that would be available, including all of the treasures you’d find inside them, and I’d carefully make my wish list and then agonise about which ones I absolutely had to have when I was told how many I could actually have.

I loved thinking I was a driver as I roared around the dodgem car circuit and still have photographic evidence of the one time my ride turned sour when an older kid rammed into my car and I somehow managed to hurt my hand in the process. I eagerly anticipated the fairy floss melting on my tongue and changing its colour, and was fascinated watching the vendor make it before my very eyes.

I desperately wanted to win specific toys in the games I played, the toys themselves losing some of their shine when I got them home, the sense of accomplishment remaining. I envied the bigger kids who were tall enough to go on the scary rides and waited for my height to catch up to my excitement.

It was loud. It was dusty. There were bright lights everywhere. There was so much to see, smell and do. It was magical!

Wellenflug, Oklahoma State Fair

In American Carnival, photographer David Skernick has collated a series of colour and black and white photos (predominantly panoramas) that bring to life the carnival experience, from the rides and attractions to the people who work there. Each photo is accompanied by a brief description. I would have been more engaged had the portraits included more information about the people they picture, for example, a quote regaling a humorous, touching or otherwise interesting experience they’ve had working at a carnival.

Halloween, Louisiana State Fair

The photos follow a short foreword by Heidi Gray and an introduction by the photographer. Spanning from day to night and including some vibrant sunsets and atmospheric storm clouds, I don’t know if you could see these photos without reminiscing about your own carnival experiences. While the day photos provide details you don’t see at night, it’s the night photography that truly brings the carnival to life, with the bright lights and blur of rides in motion.

Thank you to NetGalley and Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for the opportunity to read this book. You can find out more about this book here.

Photos (c) Dave Skernick, American Carnival, published by Schiffer Publishing 2019; used with permission.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Come celebrate the community, connection, and quirkiness of the American carnival. Stunning photographs by David Skernick capture the magic of the rides and games and the carnies and clowns who make the carnival their home. Meet Kat the sword swallower, Ember the fire eater, and the Human Fuse, Brian Miser, who sails through the air on fire! As day fades to dusk and the lights come up, smell the cotton candy, feel the vertigo of the Silver Yo Yo, and hear the laughter and screams. The panoramic images allow you to see the fair as if you were standing there yourself.

Bird Photographer of the Year: Collection 3

This book is gorgeous! Photography is one of my passions, one I don’t spend as much time pursuing as I’d like. I’ve followed the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition since 2007 and accidentally found this book, the third Bird Photographer of the Year at my library. Yay, libraries!

I have a group of wild birds that I’ve been privileged to get to know over the past couple of years and have loved capturing their individual and often quirky personalities. This book, with its stunning collection of images, has sparked my creativity and given me so many ideas to improve my photos. I loved the compositions, the lighting and artistic choices made by the photographers that have resulted in photos that make you feel like you can almost reach out and feel the feathers.

You can find the winners featured in this book on the Photocrowd website.

Sometimes words just don’t cut it so instead I have to show you my two absolute favourite photos, which were both commended in the Creative Imagery category:

Virginia Grey’s Muted Swan Cygnet, found here

description

and Kevin Morgans’ silhouetted Canada Goose, found here.

description

Aren’t they stunning?! I loved them so much I forced myself to learn how to add images to Goodreads just so I could show you. (It’s only taken me almost 2 years to learn how 🤪)

An added bonus is that this competition isn’t just about brilliant images; it’s also about conservation. From the Photocrowd website, “Over the past three years Bird Photographer of the Year has been able to donate over £7,000 to the British Trust for Ornithology.”

I just hope my library has the first two books!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The Bird Photographer of the Year competition celebrates the artistry of bird photography, and this large-format book is lavishly illustrated to reflect this. A celebration of avian beauty and diversity, it is a tribute to both the dedication and passion of the photographers as well as a reflection of the quality of today’s modern digital imaging systems.

The book includes the winning and short-listed images from the competition, now in its third year, showcasing some of the finest bird photography, with a foreword by BTO President and head judge, Chris Packham. A proportion of the profits from the book goes directly to the BTO to support their conservation work.

The advent of digital technology has revolutionised photography in recent years, and the book brings to life some of the most stunning bird photography currently on offer. It features a vast variety of photographs by hardened pros, keen amateurs and hobbyists alike, reflecting the huge diversity of bird enthusiasts and nature lovers which is so important in ensuring their conservation and survival.

Haikyo: The Modern Ruins of Japan – Shane Thoms

One thing you should probably know about me is that I absolutely adore abandoned photography so this review was never going to be unbiased. Most of the photos I’ve seen until now have been of abandoned America so I was really excited to see how amazing abandoned Japan looked. This is the coffee table book of my dreams!

From the snowy mountains of Hokkaido down to the southern tropics of Okinawa, these modern ruins or, ‘haikyo’, provide a paused and romantically silent contrast to a country known for the brightness, sound and movement that swells in so many of its thriving metropolises.

Shane Thoms took me on a journey through hospitals that looked like they belong in a horror movie,

resorts, hotels and restaurants whose still intact chandeliers tell a luxurious tale of days past, mines and industry that once employed thousands, theme parks and leisure with rides that still look like fun despite the rust, and schools where what looked like a gigantic stuffed walrus remains in perpetual time out, facing the wall in shame.

Besides enjoying the overall haunting beauty of this type of photography I also like to look closely, searching for telltale signs of the people who have lived within the walls; their stories whispering through the faded portraits gathering dust on the floor or calendars on the wall frozen in time during a specific month many years ago. While most of the photos have muted colours there are pockets of green where plants are growing through the floors or finding their way through broken windows.

I always wonder about the story behind each abandonment, how a building that has housed or entertained so many can be seemingly forgotten and left behind for nature to reclaim.

There’s an inherent sadness wandering through the shadowy halls; even the sunlight appears subdued as it fights its way through grime and mould.

I was surprised by the lack of graffiti in these photos but particularly liked the pink UFO captured mid flight. I loved the abandoned bathhouse with the cute sculpture of a person made from water containers that’s standing in the middle of the room.

I wanted to visit Nara Dreamland, an entire abandoned theme park, with its rusted rollercoasters

and demonic looking witch with fangs who overlooked the entrance to the haunted house.

Sadly this particular haikyo was purchased and its dismantling began in 2016.

I really need to buy this book so someone else has the opportunity to appreciate this library book instead of borrowing it time and time again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Stepping away from the lights and into the shadows, one adventurous photographer embarks on an underground voyeuristic journey, documenting a curious collection of images that provide a rare and intimate glimpse into a secret, mysterious and sometimes bizarre world. Miniature jungles sprout and thrive in the rooms of a discarded beachside resort. Filled with curiosities and eccentric furniture, a long forgotten love hotel crumbles away on the outskirts of a small country town. Inside a large snow covered building, a giant taxidermy walrus sits wedged in the corner of a darkened, dust filled room.

After years of abandonment, vines and foliage take over from past crowds to engulf roller coasters, carousels and water slides in a swampy amusement park. Rows of stools await more customers as the years pass by in a dilapidated strip club filled with retro treasures. Each with its own unique story to tell, the end result is the presentation of a fascinating realm where one can contemplate Japan’s hidden journey from permanence to disposability, composition to decomposition and construction to deconstruction.

Under Dogs – Andrius Burba

When I saw the cover photograph of Under Dogs and read in the blurb the comparison between this book and previous favourites like Underwater Dogs and Shake it was a no brainer for me. I had to have this book and start it immediately!

I’ll admit it. I’m a dog person. I also love cats that are happy to hang out on your lap for hours while you read and cuddle them but the pets who have always owned me have been dogs. I practically melt each time a dog comes up to me and deems me worthy of giving them a cuddle. I met the most adorable 14 week black labrador on the beach yesterday. His name is Jet and he’s at the soft puppy fur, slightly nippy but surprisingly well behaved stage.

He came right up to me for a cuddle and I considered dognapping him on the spot. He was so big and brave when a big dog came to say hi until the big dog got too close and little Jet’s bravery ran out. He ran to me, put his front paws on my knees, leaned against me and asked without saying a word for me to protect him from this scary giant.

Incidentally the scary giant was actually a grown lab and so placid and adorable itself, but this puppy didn’t know that and he trusted me, a stranger he’d met less than 5 minutes earlier, to protect him. Aww! 😍 Why did I tell you that story? I don’t know. I guess looking at the photographs in Under Dogs reminded me of the most recent canine I’ve fallen in love with.

Andrius Burba’s photography is gorgeous! While it’s very difficult to take a bad photo of a dog regardless of your skill level, Andrius’ perspective and composition was wonderful. I loved the stark black background as there was nothing to distract me from the sweet, quirky and interesting expressions on the dogs.

There are fluffballs with feet, dogs who couldn’t care less that there’s a photographer and/or camera equipment beneath them and others who are peering down with bemused, intrigued or dorky looks on their faces. There are a couple who look to me like they have fear in their eyes and I can only hope if this is true that someone was there to cuddle them in my absence after their photo was taken.

I have two favourite dogs in this book. The first is a Basenji who looks a little like it’s been jumping on a trampoline and is currently midair. It’s got the cutest little tummy wrinkles and head wrinkles. Its pads are still mostly new puppy pink with the beginnings of the darker patches that come with experiencing the world. The look on its face is one that appears to be a mix of curiosity and a wary concern about what’s going on beneath their feet. With a shiny black nose and eyes that seem all pupil, this is the dog I most wanted to cuddle and borrow forever.

My second favourite is an Italian Greyhound momma that’s sitting with her back left leg lifted in the typical ‘I’m about to lick my genitals’ position. I’m sure I’m not the only one that makes up stories about what’s really happening in pictures I see and what I loved about this photo is the timing and the angle that shows her lifted paw directly in front of her eyes. Her head is turned to the left. You can almost imagine that she’s camera shy and is hiding her eyes in the most awkward way possible in an ‘if I can’t see you then you can’t see me’ moment.

A couple of elements were missing in this book that I’ve appreciated in other dog photography books. While each portrait is accompanied by the breed of dog it features, at no point do we learn the name, age or any fun facts about any of the dogs. There also isn’t the introduction I’ve come to expect from the photographer explaining why they chose this perspective, how they accomplished it or any anecdotes about misbehaving or funny outtakes.

I expect this is going to be one of the more popular gift books of 2018 and I am almost positive I’ll be buying it myself once it’s released. For those of you who aren’t dog people, I’ve found a cat version by the same photographer, Unter Katzen, that you may want to check out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an English version of this one printed soon.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to be one of the first to adore this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

An adorable book of dog photography showing our furry friends from an unexpected perspective – from underneath.

In the vein of bestsellers like Underwater Dogs and ShakeUnder Dogs is a heartwarming and unique look at man’s best friend. Photographer Andrius Burba’s striking images of dogs taken from below are by turns surprising and hilarious – providing readers with a little-seen view of the pets we love.

The Seal Garden – Nicholas Read

Photography – Ian McAllister

This is the second of the My Great Bear Rainforest series that I’ve read. Having previously fallen in love with A Bear’s Life I looked forward to reading The Seal Garden. Once again Ian McAllister’s photography is gorgeous! I noted (and appreciated) in the fine print at the beginning of the book that there has been no digital manipulation of the images.

Although this book is nonfiction the conversational tone and story about a storm and what the animals do to protect themselves during it pull the reader in. I liked the link between this book and A Bear’s Life, where we’re told how the animals of the forest will be taking cover during the storm before the seal garden is introduced. The story of the protection that the seal garden provides seals and other smaller animals from predators such as orcas gives readers an interesting overview into the lives of these beautiful mammals.

This book is for readers from 5 to 8 years and both the writing style and content are appropriate for this age group. When the orcas came on the scene I was personally dreading a scene out of a David Attenborough documentary (you know the type I’m referring to) but am pleased to report that no seals are harmed in the narrative or photographs in this book. Phew! 😅

In some photos you get the impression that the seals know all about cameras and are hamming it up for the photographer. In others I just about melted as I gazed into their huge, dark eyes. 😍 I don’t have a favourite photo of the seals because they’re just so darn loveable.

I do, however, have a favourite orca photo. It shows two orcas, one with its head above water. The composition and lighting are perfect. The movement of the orcas is evident through the ripples in the water and the fine spray in the air above them. It’s a truly stunning photo.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Orca Book Publishers for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When storms roar and orcas are on the prowl, it’s the seal gardens of the Great Bear Sea that provide safety and shelter to sea lions, otters, a variety of seals and other sea mammals. Ian McAllister’s glorious photographs reveal the beauty and mystery of this rarely seen place of refuge. This is the third title in the My Great Bear Rainforest series, following Wolf Island and A Bear’s Life

National Geographic Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark – National Geographic Society

Wow! I’d expect nothing less from National Geographic, but still. Wow! This is a truly gorgeous collection of night photography, with short but poetic introductions to each chapter where the photographs are categorised under the headings of Energy, Harmony, Mystery and Wonder. I’d seen a fair few of these photos before but I found some new favourites, along with a few new favourites quotes from those scattered through the book.

I Can’t Decide Which Quote I Love Best So Here’s Both

“The only true voyage of discovery … would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.” – Marcel Proust

“The things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist.” – Ernest Hemingway

The Awards Ceremony

🏆 Take My Breath Away – A jet-black crow perches against the equally black sky, Switzerland. Photograph by Brigitte Blätter. (page 241)

🏆 Arty Quirky – The spires of Erfurt Cathedral are reflected in a puddle on a cobblestone street, Thuringia, Germany. Photograph by Henryk Sadura. (page 253)

🏆 The Truth is Out There – Lights of a train reflect off the falling snow and through an abandoned church in the late night hours before sunrise, Sorrento, British Columbia, Canada. Photograph by Kevin McElheran. (pages 274-275)

🏆 Bookish Aww – Two boys read a book by candlelight in the rocky cliffs of the Ethiopian Highlands, Tigray, Ethiopia. Photograph by Asher Svidensky. (page 359)

🏆 Abandoned Love – Subtle night lighting accentuates the remains of Abbey Church, a former Cistercian monastery, Galloway, Scotland. Photograph by Berthold Steinhilber. (page 234)

🏆 I Still Call Australia Home – A wave curls back into the dark ocean, New South Wales, Australia. Photograph by Ray Collins. (pages 66-67)

🏆 You Get a Trophy Too – All of the others.

While the ones I’ve pointed out were my absolute favourites there wasn’t a dud in the entire book. Love, love, love, love, love!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Celebrate the beauty of the world after dark – from starlit skies and glowing city streets to exquisite nocturnal creatures – with this magnificent new photography collection from National Geographic.

The world is a different place after dark, and this breathtaking book illuminates the mesmerizing realm of all things nocturnal, with more than 250 glorious images. Page after page of vivid photographs explore the many nuances of night vision – from the sea by moonlight to night markets in Laos to the face of a child lit up by a screen in a darkened room. The range of images in these pages is breathtaking: A smoky jazz club. Flowers that bloom only at night. Phosphorescent fish. Lions photographed with infrared cameras. The Eiffel Tower, all lit up. Faces around a campfire. A stadium lit by floodlights. Earth from space. Elegant, sexy, and a little mysterious, this richly illustrated book is a stunning pathway to some of the world’s most captivating sights.

Abandoned: The Most Beautiful Forgotten Places from Around the World – Mathew Growcoot (editor)

I love abandoned places photography so much! This book was no exception. The photography itself was brilliant but the subject matter was everything for me. There’s just something about abandoned places. They have a strange combination of the overwhelming sadness of something cast aside, nostalgia of what once was and a haunting beauty of what the elements have transformed the structure into, and I can’t get enough of them. Like losing myself in a fire’s flames, I get mesmerised by these places.

When I saw my first abandoned house photo I had a lightbulb moment. Weird as it may sound these are my fantasy buildings. I would love to buy an abandoned house like one of the ones in this book, ensure it’s structurally sound and then leave the outside as close to the state that I found it in as possible. I’d restore the interior, bringing back to life the character it once had, but the outside would remain as is. It would be my “don’t judge a book by its cover” dream brought to life.

I don’t expect this would make sense to most people but I love the idea of people walking up to a building that looks as though a gust of wind could bring it down and then stepping inside to the enchanted world of my imagination, with the requisite hidden rooms and the library of my dreams. Hmm … one day …

So, back to this book. It was gorgeous and my biggest decision now is whether to keep reserving it over and over at the library or buy my own copy because I have to look through it again and again. As you page through, you’ll be taken on a journey around the world through abandoned homes, recreation, rooms, journeys, society and industry.

I could easily say they were all my favourites but there were particular photos that stood out to me. The children’s playroom in Pennhurst Asylum, Pennsylvania, USA, with sections of a painted merry-go-round on the cracked wall and a wooden chair sitting in the middle of the room. The operating chair in an unnamed mental asylum in Italy, creepy in and of itself. Who knows how many peoples’ lives and minds were irrevocably changed in that room laying on and most likely strapped to that chair. Okay, so I may have a teensy morbid interest in old asylums.

There’s also an abandoned two storey mansion somewhere in the USA with eery clouds overhead, trees in the background and a curtain on the second floor that’s not quite closed, so it’s very likely a ghost is peering out at you. There’s a merry-go-round at the funfair somewhere in Italy and a lonely ferris wheel at Chernobyl, Ukraine. There’s also churches, shopping malls, planes, cars, motels and rooms overtaken by sand. The whole book is just amazing. I will never get tired of looking through it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From the empty magical theatres of Detroit to the lost playgrounds of Chernobyl, there are places across the globe that were once a hub of activity, but are now abandoned and in decay. With nature creeping in and reclaiming these spots, we are left with eerie crumbling ruins and breath-taking views of deserted places, that offer us a window into past and capture our imagination. Abandoned showcases the very best photographs from around the world documenting this phenomenon.

More immersive than a museum and more human that a lecture, abandoned photography has given the world an exciting way to look at our history and the places we have long neglected.