The Two Dans – Exploring in Philadelphia

First city on the USA trip is Philadelphia the home of Rocky Balboa and cheese steaks. It turned out to be a bit of a culture shock. Unlike Europe, the abandonments we were to visit were in the heart of the city rather than the more rural areas we were used to. On top of that trespassing is a criminal offence in the USA, so we were going to have to be a lot more careful as neither of us is really prison material (despite the tattoos) and nor did we wish to share a cell with a man called buck (who loves to…).

Philly is a big city and seems to be filled with abandoned locations. Unfortunately for us the good ones seemed to be located in the rougher areas of the city. Fortunately for us it turned out that our host was carrying a gun for his safety and ours  – a Glock if you are into that kind of thing.

First stop a church on a busy main street in broad day light – might as well start as you mean to go on. Once inside we were greeted by large intact stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings, a good start to the day. Due to the illegal nature of exploring in America, the window of opportunity for entering party bouncy castle a building is much smaller so you have to try a few buildings to find a doable location. After trying a few we found another church. This one was much bigger and more colourful than the last and a bit of a local secret apparently.

After a spot of dinner it was off to the roof of an abandoned building 25 stories high in the centre of the city to take in some views of the city and a spot of night shooting. Due to a lack of a lift, my love of the smokes and a sloth-like lifestyle, the next 500 plus steps with all my gear weren’t exactly fun. But the amazing view made the misery of physical activity soon disappear. While up there we bumped into another explorer by the name of Phantom, a man in his 70s with over 40 years experience exploring, who was happy to tell his tales till the time on our parking meter was up and it was time for the much easier climb down the stairs.

 So after a long day it was time for bed, now this isn’t normally worthy of mention but I feel this time it is.  We were to stay at the house of a friend of our main host, the lovely, beautiful, intelligent and demure Shannon (She’s next to me and I know for a fact her friend has a gun). We arrived at what looked like a fort and once inside we realised we’d be staying the night in what can only be described as a pirate themed sex emporium, still it beats the rental car.

You can follow Dan Marbaix’s work here Or like it on Facebook if that’s your bag

HI my name is Daniel Barter and I am a 28 year old photographer. Two of my greatest passions in life are photography and exploration. The images I capture represent not only moments of this passion but also a philosophy by which I live my life. I strive to chronicle the spectrum of human experience through the unique eye of a camera lens. Specifically, I endeavour to reveal the nature of society through the artifices they build, the relics they leave behind, and the small stories contained within.

This quest, has taken me as far as the desolate exclusion zone around Chernobyl, as a deep as the secret vaults of London, on top of towering steel monoliths, and into the vast industrial wastelands that have found themselves surplus to requirements in the 21st century. These almost invisible frontiers surround us but relatively few seek to engage with their hidden depths.

If you are interested in Chernobyl my first book is out this October. Here is a little sneak preview:

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  • Tim Knifton

    Awesome tales so far dudes – keep up the good work and be careful out there on the high seas me hearties!!