Auckland photography exhibition captures abandoned, forgotten houses

An abandoned house in Awanui, taken by Kelly Stacey in 2015. The photograph is part of an exhibition showing at Alberton.
KELLY STACEY / SUPPLIED

An abandoned house in Awanui, taken by Kelly Stacey in 2015. The photograph is part of an exhibition showing at Alberton.

Haunting photographs of abandoned, dilapidated houses form a new exhibition set in an Auckland ballroom.

The display has been unveiled at Alberton, a heritage property in Mt Albert, as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.

The Art of Falling Apart exhibition casts a light on some of New Zealand's abandoned houses and ruins.

The interior of a Waikato house by Robert Strup.
ROBERT STRUP / SUPPLIED

The interior of a Waikato house by Robert Strup.

It features the work of three photographers who specialise in 'urban exploration' - an art form of exploring and photographing abandoned man-made buildings which are often closed to the public.

The secretive world of urban exploration received attention in 2014 when photos emerged from inside the ruined Christchurch Cathedral, taken by a group that identifies itself as Urbex Central.

Read more:
*The art of urban exploration
*Urban explorers find abandoned 'town' in the South Island
*Urban explorers swim channel, sneak in to abandoned, quake-hit island fortress

Auckland-based photographer Harley Plowman's image of a derelict house.
HARLEY PLOWMAN / SUPPLIED

Auckland-based photographer Harley Plowman's image of a derelict house.

Auckland-based photographer Harley Plowman has been documenting abandoned residential and public sites in the area for around 14 years.

"I first started entering these places just out of curiosity and a place to hide from the outside world, but began to see a beauty which others may not," he says.

"From that I decided I should start documenting this as we never know how much longer they will be around for."

Plowman says one of his favourite images is of a rundown house he photographed on a forgotten highway in Te Wera, which he found by chance as he drove past.

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"People are generally really interested and fascinated with the places…some belongings left in these places spark memories from their own past," he says.

The exhibition's curator Francesca Lolaiy says the photos contrast with Alberton's historical ballroom where they are displayed.

"There's the connection and the irony that these are crumbled down old places no one loves and everything in this house, even though they are same things, are so well...meticulously cared for."

Lolaiy says the exhibition has gained a lot of interest from people fascinated by the mystery around the abandoned buildings.

"So many stories have been shared about similar run down places, people stop on their way between towns," she says.

The Art of Falling Apart runs until June 25 at Alberton House, Mt Albert Rd.  Admission is free.

Phone 09 846 7367 for more information.

 - Stuff

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