The Two Dans – Exploring Pittsburgh

The next city on our whistle-stop tour was Pittsburgh. The city famous for its dying steel industry and having a million and one bridges. Our host for the day was the exuberant and entertaining Jeremy. After cruising over many of Pitts’ bridges, we slowly made our way out to Ohio to visit a half demoed asylum and Steubenville steel mill. Which is part of America’s ever-increasing rust belt -Steubenville is quite the site to behold. After gaining entry we lined up our shots from the train bridge to capture the mill in all its finery. This was our first mistake… Little did we know trains still run on this line. Eagle eye Dan (Marbaix) noticed steam/smoke in his view finder whilst lining up a shot. We ran like fuck to get out of there and just made it by the skin of our teeth.

Once the excitement had died down we explored the steel gargantuan before us. As we made to leave it, we finally spotted security. What ensued was very cat and mouse like -with them as the mice. It was clear they had no clue we were watching them for over an hour. They drove back and forth and back and forth. When the buffoons eventually managed to damage one of their vehicles we snuck out discreetly whilst they dicked about.

Worker’s Boots

That evening Jeremy tempted us with a view of a city skyline to party bouncy castle die for. The view of Pitts from Mount Washington was breath-taking and provide some light relief from the continuous exploration. We even met two Englishmen, which I am not afraid to admit was the very first time I was ecstatic to speak to a scouser. After we had filled the panorama sized void in our lives we went back to Jeremy’s halls to be swamped by Anglophiles and sleep it out.

Pittsburgh Skyline

What would follow the next day was one of the scariest moments of our trip thus far. We were in one of Pitts’ most ghetto areas, trying to gain access to an elementary school with drug dealing ganger bangers at the front and they knew we didn’t belong. As we approached the entrance, one of them peeled off from the pack and made his way towards us. Now in full retreat we headed back to the car and waited for him to return to his crew. The school itself was a treasure trove of peeling paint, pianos, chairs, light bulbs and equipment. When we got to the top floor, the echoes told we were not alone and after the experience outside we thought best to get the hell out of dodge. When just outside we were greeted by a man carving something into a wall with a very large knife… Don’t you just love America?

Elementary school

Dogma Cathedral

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:

My Flickr:

My Facebook fan page:

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


  • Tim Knifton

    nice one lads – you had a hell of a trip.