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UER Forum > UE Main > The lengths at which one will go to set the scene (Viewed 409 times)
C E C 


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The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< on 7/26/2020 11:07 PM >
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I have been really admiring some Instagram urbexer’s seemingly uncanny ability to score many, many “dreamhouses.” I’m talking vintage furniture, family photographs and personal mementos... y’all know the drill. The Holy Grail type find. One artist in particular must have dozens of houses like such on her page.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have found a couple places like that in my day as well. I know it’s possible.

After viewing all these houses, I was determined to up my game and you know, be more bold with scouting, started thinking that I’d better start knocking shit off that potential list, etc etc... UNTIL I saw a video of a shoot on Instagram from another accomplished explorer.

In this video, it looked like dude and his buddies literally went item by item and sorted out all the best objects from what seemed to be a giant pile of generic abandoned trash. They then shoveled all the garbage to the other side of the room and literally set up the perfect scene from there with the objects they had already found in the trash pile.

Boy do I feel naive! Does any one else do this?! It’s genius in some regards. I have always been biased against creating scenes and think they can come off as cliché and tacky when overdone... but now I feel like maybe I have been robbing myself of some good opportunities.

I guess my biggest question is how to guarantee yourself the time to shoot if spending that much time cleaning up and rearranging.

I’m fascinated by this and would love to hear from anyone who knows more.




Explorer Zero 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 1 on 7/26/2020 11:44 PM >
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Sounds like an episode of Antiques Roadshow





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RAYGUN 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 2 on 7/27/2020 2:40 PM >
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I find location photographs that have been set up and arranged go against the very nature of urban exploration. Intervention ... rearranging, cleaning and tidying up in the end looks like an obviously staged sterile clichés of what the explorer mistakenly thought would look nice but in reality is not true to the spirit of times natural process of decay. It's not a true document of the abandoned space but an idealized representation. I find the photographs of untouched abandoned places more interesting to look at without the hand of the explorer involved in the process. Even hate bad graffiti ... but that's another topic already discussed.




RAYGUN
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ClementRSedona 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 3 on 7/27/2020 3:54 PM >
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I hate setups. It's like said before, against what urban exploration goal is, to explore places abandonned and left to natural decay.

Wanting to set up the place better or with 'scenes' make me cringe.

The only thing i like to do is "clean" or replace a room like it was before vendals. I will not touch the decay or will not add random stuff to make the shot better or "bait-er".

Here is a video me and my friend did after a place we wanted to shoot/explore for a long time got trashed. Based on older pictures we put back the room like it was before.





Il y a toujours un moyen.
Steed 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 4 on 7/27/2020 4:37 PM >
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I will move things to take a photograph. Most likely that means bringing something into brighter light, rather than rearranging the whole room. If possible it's best to leave things where they are, but if you're talking about books or photos scattered on the floor, you pretty well have to touch them. I also try to place everything back how I found it after.




mookster 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 5 on 7/27/2020 6:15 PM >
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It happens an awful lot, especially in continental Europe. Some people there will set up entire houses with sometimes terribly cringeworthy looking set up props and items found inside properties, so much so they begin to look fake. That Chateau Secession everyone was raving about a few years ago? All of those rooms were set up using things from around the house in the rooms that hadn't collapsed.

I personally hate the look of overly set-up shots, they don't tell the true story of what a place was like and are just a bit naff. True 'untouched' houses don't have ridiculous scenes staged using random artifacts after all. The furthest I will ever go is either removing litter or trash from the view of something interesting, or I might lay out some paperwork or old photos found in a drawer and take a shot of them before putting them away.



[last edit 7/27/2020 6:16 PM by mookster - edited 1 times]

I like car graveyards.
Freaktography 


Location: Burlington Ontario
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Freaktography

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 6 on 7/27/2020 8:34 PM >
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I swear these lights were left just like this, they were even glowing when I got there!





I will admittedly set up shots from time to time, what I do most often is if I find something cool in a closet or a drawer I'll set it/them up somewhere, as mentioned above in a place with good light, shoot it and put it away. Some things simply can't be shot the way they are found

This shot for example, everything in the scene was found in drawers, closets, buries under debris.



Now, an example of taking things waaaay too far would be this one, where RiddimRyder and I took everything off of the dining room table and set up a beautiful Christmas dinner with all of the things we found laying around the house. We even moved the record player and placed s Christmas album in the scene, lit candles and I put on a hat that I found.

Taking the nonsense a step further, we photoshopped a turkey on the platter!











Here is another fave where Riddim, Kronix and I set up a post-apocalyptic Thanksgiving dinner in an abandoned house








I don't stage nearly as much as I used to, and when I do it's either for something really stupid like these pics above or to showcase things I have found.

I'll leave you with this parting thought.

This shot below, I set this whole room up in 2013 with things that were found all over the house, when I was done shooting the scene, I scattered all of the items all over the house in different spots, hiding them.

Two weeks after I posted my photos online, someone went to the house, found almost all of the items that made up MY shot, he set them up all in the exact same way and then posted it as his own idea, he didn't tear it down and everyone who went after him took the same shot.

The "silver lining" here is that I eventually sold prints and rights to these photos to an Oscar nominated Production Designer who was interested in possibly using that scene for a potential film set. She keeps an idea book of scenes she refers back to when in search of ideas. This woman was the Production Designer on American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook and many others.


So, staging shots isn't ALWAYS a bad thing!!
















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C E C 


Location: Atlanta
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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 7 on 7/27/2020 8:42 PM >
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Posted by Freaktography
I swear these lights were left just like this, they were even glowing when I got there!


442896.jpg (55 kb, 399x600)
click to view




I will admittedly set up shots from time to time, what I do most often is if I find something cool in a closet or a drawer I'll set it/them up somewhere, as mentioned above in a place with good light, shoot it and put it away. Some things simply can't be shot the way they are found

This shot for example, everything in the scene was found in drawers, closets, buries under debris.

442897.jpg (87 kb, 800x531)
click to view



Now, an example of taking things waaaay too far would be this one, where RiddimRyder and I took everything off of the dining room table and set up a beautiful Christmas dinner with all of the things we found laying around the house. We even moved the record player and placed s Christmas album in the scene, lit candles and I put on a hat that I found.

Taking the nonsense a step further, we photoshopped a turkey on the platter!


442898.jpg (73 kb, 800x531)
click to view




442899.jpg (80 kb, 800x531)
click to view




442900.jpg (71 kb, 800x540)
click to view




Here is another fave where Riddim, Kronix and I set up a post-apocalyptic Thanksgiving dinner in an abandoned house


I don't stage nearly as much as I used to, and when I do it's either for something really stupid like these pics above or to showcase things I have found.

I'll leave you with this parting thought.

This shot below, I set this whole room up in 2013 with things that were found all over the house, when I was done shooting the scene, I scattered all of the items all over the house in different spots, hiding them.

Two weeks after I posted my photos online, someone went to the house, found almost all of the items that made up MY shot, he set them up all in the exact same way and then posted it as his own idea, he didn't tear it down and everyone who went after him took the same shot.

The "silver lining" here is that I eventually sold prints and rights to these photos to an Oscar nominated Production Designer who was interested in possibly using that scene for a potential film set. She keeps an idea book of scenes she refers back to when in search of ideas. This woman was the Production Designer on American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook and many others.


So, staging shots isn't ALWAYS a bad thing!!



Those shots are fabulous! Thanks for your insights.




[last edit 7/27/2020 8:43 PM by C E C - edited 1 times]

Aran 


Location: Madison, WI
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Huh. I guess covid made me a trendsetter.

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 8 on 7/27/2020 8:46 PM >
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I'll rearrange small objects to set up a shot because I shoot for the art as much as for documentation, but I don't really move furniture- and if I do, I put it back where I found it.




Indiana Jones wasn't an archaeologist, he was an urban explorer. Archaeologists do a lot less running and a lot more paperwork.

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Natchraz 


Location: San Rafael, California
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what could go wrong?

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 9 on 7/27/2020 8:53 PM >
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I’ll occasionally lay cones, small chairs, etc. on their side just to add a bit more flavor to a shot.

Other than that, completely changing the setting of an area is out of my way of doing things, it’s just a bit too extreme and doesn’t show how a location has really changed naturally.




RAYGUN 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 10 on 7/28/2020 1:07 AM >
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Posted by Freaktography

This shot for example, everything in the scene was found in drawers, closets, buries under debris.

442897.jpg (87 kb, 800x531)
click to view



Here is another fave where Riddim, Kronix and I set up a post-apocalyptic Thanksgiving dinner in an abandoned house


442901.jpg (96 kb, 800x531)
click to view



So, staging shots isn't ALWAYS a bad thing!!



I have to admit your post-apocalyptic Thanksgiving dinner is great. Looks like a scene from the next Blade Runner film. Did you guys indulge in a TRUMP cigar and Labatt's IPA after the turkey ... now that brings back memories. I guess it comes down to creative intent!

.




RAYGUN
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mookster 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 11 on 7/28/2020 7:17 AM >
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There was quite an entertaining shitstorm in the UK a few years ago concerning a particular abandoned Welsh farmhouse which was full of old stuff. It turned out, after my friend had done some top class investigating because she smelled a rat, that the original 'finders' of the house were both bringing in props from other places to set up inside the house, as well as removing certain things from the house which they would 'allow you to see' if you went with them to the property.

As you can imagine, when that all became public knowledge quite a few people had some rather unkind words to say about the couple who were doing that, and they promptly decided to vanish from the community with their tails between their legs.




I like car graveyards.
Freaktography 


Location: Burlington Ontario
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Freaktography

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 12 on 7/28/2020 11:31 AM >
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That is just a whole new level of stupid.

So here in Ontario, we have a guy who will find the keys to abandoned houses and vacant mansions, then he locks the doors so no one else can go.

He will only bring the people along who he deems worthy or people who agree to give him their best locations in trade for a visit with him.

This was also a thing with rooftoppers to break the locks off of roof hatches and replace them with their own.




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C E C 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 13 on 7/28/2020 12:37 PM >
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Posted by Freaktography
That is just a whole new level of stupid.

So here in Ontario, we have a guy who will find the keys to abandoned houses and vacant mansions, then he locks the doors so no one else can go.

He will only bring the people along who he deems worthy or people who agree to give him their best locations in trade for a visit with him.

This was also a thing with rooftoppers to break the locks off of roof hatches and replace them with their own.


This happens in excess in the Southeast now. It’s exhausting.




RAYGUN 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 14 on 7/29/2020 3:35 AM >
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Posted by ClementRSedona

Here is a video me and my friend did after a place we wanted to shoot/explore for a long time got trashed. Based on older pictures we put back the room like it was before.




Wow ... this is on a totally different level ... you guys are amazing. Even cleaning off the graffiti! That room is beautiful. It now looks like a museum display ... like the Diefenbunker. Very creative .... thanks.





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jonrev 


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A one-trick pony in a one-horse town.

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 15 on 7/30/2020 4:23 AM >
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In Gary, the tourists and art students from Chicago used to drag Goodwill furniture and stuff obviously not period-correct into the bandos, abandoning them after their shoot.





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goon1 


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No snitching...

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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 16 on 7/31/2020 3:44 AM >
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It's sad that the "Instagram urban explorers" stage their pictures. If it seems too good to be true, it's probably staged.

I only know of one type of those legendary "too good to be true" finds that was legit. But, last I checked I saw it was listed on Zillow as "sold" and heard the buyer had plans to/is currently renovating the place.




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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 17 on 8/1/2020 10:27 PM >
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Just stay at home and photoshop.




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Explorer Zero 


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Re: The lengths at which one will go to set the scene
< Reply # 18 on 8/11/2020 10:07 PM >
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Posted by selectedgrub
Just stay at home and photoshop.



Yeah guess Im too dumb to get it.

Why go to all the trouble to stage some cliché type photos of all the pretty rusty and dusty antiques and decay, getting the lighting just right to tell a story with the photos, its been done plenty times before pffffttt...

C'mon. Some old ladies house full of old lady knick-knacks and other assorted crap?

How artistic?




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