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UER Forum > Journal Index > Dijital Bliss > An interview I did for associated content on Urbex (Viewed 1045 times)
An interview I did for associated content on Urbex
entry by Mike Dijital 
7/6/2014 8:13 PM

Mike Dijital: The King of Urban Exploration Photography
UrBex Guru Mike Dijital Sheds Some Light on Urban Exploration
Miss Fortune
Miss Fortune, Yahoo Contributor Network
May 15, 2007

Urban Exploration

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If you troll the highs and lows of the internet long enough, eventually you'll come across the likes of Mike Dijital or at the very least his stunning photography. He lists his occupation as 'photographer and trespasser' but that's much too vague a definition of what he does. Married with cats, Mr. Dijital has an impressive collection of images and video clips available for viewing on his MySpace page ( as well as a book, tentatively titled "Abandoned", in the works. I was more than a little thrilled when he accepted my invitation for an interview; to be able to pick his brain and tap into places that have long since vanished. I went into this hoping to get a better understand of his view of "urbex" and came away from it with much more than I expected.

Thankfully he was more than accommodating; my wireless internet connection seemed to have a mind of its own so it wasn't a one shot deal. His passion of exploring is only exceeded by his deep desire to capture images of such places; his creation of "DegGi5" makes that blisteringly evident. Though I haven't been able to view this site as it is a private forum, when he speaks about it, you can tell that his words come from the heart. What are Mike's hopes for urban exploration? Initially his reply to my query left me puzzled but the more I dwelled on it, the more it made sense. Basically, he wants it to 'go away', not permanently, just until the fires die down and the smoke clears. That's one of the reasons why his Urbex website is private, the less people seeing what's going on, the better.

Urban exploration has many meanings; each person has her or her own unique view of what it entails. It doesn't mean destroying private property or having a keg party, it doesn't mean spray painting your tag on walls and it certainly doesn't mean copping an attitude and developing a 'god complex' because you were the first person to discover a dwelling. I hate to break it to you but guess what ... the simple fact that a building is standing or a tunnel has cobwebs means that it's already old hack. People have already been there but they went about it the right way; they got in, got out and didn't get caught.

Mike made a very valid point when we talked about how the hobby has changed over the years; neither of us are in our twenties so we remember when the internet wasn't readily available. Yes, as hard as that may seem to believe, there was a point in time when you had to go to the library to do research or (gasp) get dirty to uncover the trust and facts about something. With more than a few Urbex sites around, it does make the information easily accessible but on the same token, it also makes it easier for law enforcement to keep track of what is going on. You might think it's cool to post a picture of you and your friends inside a building but when you start posting the time, dates and events (both in the past and future plans) you are setting yourself up for a nice "knock and talk" from someone that wants to bust your balls.

One interesting tidbit I picked up from the interview was that Mike had a hand in creating the film Session 9. I might be stroking his ego here but I'll going to throw it out on the table, if it weren't for Mike, there's a chance that Danvers State Hospital might not have been the location picked. Session 9 remains one of my favorite films, not for the plot or acting but the location and imagery.

Another remarkable project Mike was involved in was Operation Tip Toe; a late night mission organized and set in motion by the NEUEA, New England Urban Exploration Alliance. It's events like this that are often overlooked by the media and law enforcement. In their eyes, urban exploration is just a fancy term for trespassing and breaking the law. Operation Top Toe involved planting hundreds of tulips on the unmarked graves of those buried at Danvers.

To see some of the images that were captured, please visit this URL:

Since we were using an instant messenger system I didn't have to take notes but there were more than a few quotes that struck me with awe. In regards to Danvers State Hospital he says, "The energy there was mellow and inviting, unlike other place I have been ...". His passion about exploration can't be summed up any better than this quote; "Urban Exploration has zero to do with the internet. It has zero to do with a camera. It's about getting up, and getting out. Urban exploration can be a giant Kirkbride, or a lost foundation in the woods. Don't limit yourself by what you've read urbex should be online, urbex is what you want it to be. It's about exploration of your surroundings and yourself. And don't let anyone tell you different."

That, in a nutshell is what urban exploration should be about. To explore is to investigate and you can't do much investigating while sitting behind a computer desk. Well, technically you can but it's the same thing as a kid sitting in a classroom and learning about the Grand Canyon. They learn how big it is, how deep it is and the number of visitors it receives each year but until they are standing there seeing it for themselves ... it's just semi-useless fodder for trivia games. Urbex isn't about being the first to plant your cyber flag somewhere, nor is it about masturbating your ego when others ask you for details. It's a hobby that's become watered down and fashionable. Simply put, my friends and I were into 'urbex' before we even knew there was a term for it.

If you want to learn more about his book, feel free to visit his website at You'll be able to get a slight glimpse into what this very talented man has captured on film. He mentioned that his upcoming book is the first of a series that should be seeing light by the end of 2007. Needless to say, when it's released, I'll be all over it. If you are into urban exploring remember to keep it simple but be safe. No one wants to get that dreaded (and expensive) phone call at three in the morning asking you to come bail them out.

I'd like to thank Mike for his time and patience. He is a genuinely unique man that has a deep love of this hobby.

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UER Forum > Journal Index > Dijital Bliss > An interview I did for associated content on Urbex (Viewed 1045 times)

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