Photographer Roman Robroek is best known for his enchanting images showcasing the decaying beauty of abandoned places. Drawn to urban landscapes that were once centers of life but are now left to erode and crumble, he travels the world searching for unique settings to capture. For Robroek, “the forgotten holds a very special sort of fascination. Decay, where once was luxury. Stillness in places that were bursting with life.” And after years of photographing forgotten sites—from the abandoned city of Chernobyl to the bowels of old European theaters and once-luxurious palaces—he has now compiled a collection of his most stunning images into a new book titled Oblivion.
Going beyond the mere aesthetic beauty of Robroek’s photographs, the book also features descriptive texts filled with fascinating details about these crumbling urban ruins. As part of his creative journey, the photographer delved deeper into the storied pasts of these haunting locations in an effort to understand how such magnificent edifices came to be so neglected. The result of his efforts is 256 pages of powerful stories and visual imagery that remind us of these battered dwellings and allow us to appreciate them before they are truly lost.
“One of the definitions of the word ‘Oblivion’ is the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening around one—the state of being abandoned or forgotten by the general public,” Robroek explains. “The dualism in the book title reflects the moving and one-of-a-kind story of each place… Oblivion is a closer look at places that remind us that we don’t live in a vacuum and that nothing lasts forever. Life is transformation, and loss can be a gateway to change or even opportunity. Every abandoned site is not just a crumbling pile of materials, but an intersection of fortuitous events, characters, choices, and so many other things that led those places to fall into their current state.”
Oblivion is now available for purchase in hardcover on Amazon. Scroll down to see a sneak peek of some of the images you’ll find inside.