Gina Soden captures the beauty of Europe’s derelict buildings

Abandoned asylums, hotels and palazzos are given a painterly touch

Gina Soden has spent the last six years seeking out Europe’s grand and abandoned buildings, from hospital asylums and palaces to boarded up schools and disused power stations.

‘I like the fact they’re hidden spaces that not many people know about,’ says the London based photographer. ‘For me, it’s about the historical importance of the buildings, and capturing the grandeur and decadence of these places – before they waste away. We see so much imagery day to day and I want my work to evoke a sense of nostalgia.’

Rather than take a documentary approach to shooting these forgotten landmarks, Soden captures the softness and the character of the places she discovers. ‘I use exposure blending methods and refine the images digitally in Photoshop to bring out the detail. That gives it the painterly quality I’m looking for in the image,’ she says. ‘I also like to shoot 35mm and 6×6 film.’

Gina Soden photographs Europe's decaying buildings
Photography: Gina Soden

She adds: ‘I take my time to soak up the building’s history, to research its key parts and details before I shoot and put a series together. A big part of my process is to enjoy the building and atmosphere.’

But the buildings are in a precarious state, and face an even more uncertain future. ‘My photographs very much pinpoint a moment in time. I went to an abandoned hotel in 2012, and returned a few years later to find the ceiling had fallen in – it looked completely different.’

Gina Soden Soviet Radar
Gina Soden, ‘Soviet Radar, Kaleidoscope

Her latest series, ‘Kaleidoscope’, takes her obsession with abandoned architecture into new territory as she turns ceilings and interior planes into dizzying abstract artworks. These new images are included in an exhibition of Soden’s work on show at London’s Blacks Club, titled Art in Ruins, viewed by appointment.

Read next: Explore America’s libraries via these panoramic portraits

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