3: Landscape as Political Text Documentary Inspiration Landscape Review

Industrial and post-industrial landscapes

Some activist photographers have been mainly concerned with industrial and post-industrial landscapes. Here big industry becomes the ‘new sublime’ to be feared and confronted in the hope of change and avoiding disaster.

Other photographers have avoided any overt messages, rather asking questions to which the viewer may have different answers. These take a gentler, more ‘picturesque’ approach.

Post-industrial spaces have also inspired a new kind of tourism: urban exploration of derelict factories and warehouses, abandoned hospitals and asylums, any kind of space that is shut up, difficult to get to (eg below ground) or in any other way off-limits or hazardous. “Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but photographs.”

There are dedicated websites and chatrooms, such as

A film discussing urban exploration:

This has been echoed by increasing interest in ‘dark tourism’