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The Public Opinion...

knuxxed

Hibnotic
28DL Full Member
#1
Alright people,
I bet I've posted this in the wrong forum*

I'm currently doing my A-Levels and I've been given the chance of creating something for an EPQ (worth 1/2 an A-Level to some colleges). So I intend on creating a short documentary about the public perception of Urbex. I've already got one lad that I can interview and another who I am waiting for a response from. (guys that I've helped in the past who have a relatively large social media presence) and whilst it's good getting the opinions of people who almost do it for a living, I'ts also good to get opinions from the community that the public doesn't really see. All of you seem very to the point so I'm expecting some good answers!


The main questions I'm asking are:
What are the common misconceptions around Urbex?
Should the public worry about people doing Urbex?
How dangerous is it?
(I do have my personal answers to these but I think it would be better to get a generalised opinion)

All replies are appreciated and feel free to state whether you would/wouldn't wan't your identity to be seen or heard in the documentary. If the site would like to remain anonymous, that's fine. I am lucky enough to know someone who runs a podcast company linked to the BBC so an audio and visual version might be released on on the podcast platform and there is a slim but realistic chance that it could make BBC Three or elsewhere on the iPlayer.
 

Grom

Recovering Fisheye-aholic
Regular User
#2
This is quite a sensitive and political issue within the 'Community'.
Most people tend to avoid the limelight of the press as it only draws idiots in. I can't see this thread providing too many answers as people prefer to stay anon.

What I would say is that the recent trend in Youtubers and big social media personalities who make clickbaity content and sell it to the daily mail etc is striking a bit of a divide between people.

The recent cycle I've seen is, which is driven by said Youtubers or someone copying them without any idea of what they are doing or how to do it carefully:
  1. Idiots go and do stupid stuff with no forethought or tact about how they go about doing it sensibly.
  2. Get caught or post said stupid stuff to the internet/Youtube.
  3. Stupid stuff gets noticed and leads to them getting in trouble, or even big legal trouble with things like the Lloyds building thing going on at the moment.
  4. A big spotlight gets put onto the community and then it makes it harder for everyone who are genuinely passionate about it and don't care about fame and fortune. The big fear is that it eventually leads to a major law change.

I wouldn't say the public need to worry, but explorers have a bad habit of looking pretty dodgy. Most people don't seem to understand what motivates people to clamber into somewhere abandoned and derpy with a bunch of camera gear. So it's assumed they are up to no good. Unfortunately I don't think this perception will ever change.
 

knuxxed

Hibnotic
28DL Full Member
#3
  1. A big spotlight gets put onto the community and then it makes it harder for everyone who are genuinely passionate about it and don't care about fame and fortune. The big fear is that it eventually leads to a major law change.
Would you say that YouTubers/wannabees are the biggest danger to the community. (more than the press) or is it one influencing the other?
 

knuxxed

Hibnotic
28DL Full Member
#4
This is quite a sensitive and political issue within the 'Community'.
Most people tend to avoid the limelight of the press as it only draws idiots in. I can't see this thread providing too many answers as people prefer to stay anon.

What I would say is that the recent trend in Youtubers and big social media personalities who make clickbaity content and sell it to the daily mail etc is striking a bit of a divide between people.

The recent cycle I've seen is, which is driven by said Youtubers or someone copying them without any idea of what they are doing or how to do it carefully:
  1. Idiots go and do stupid stuff with no forethought or tact about how they go about doing it sensibly.
  2. Get caught or post said stupid stuff to the internet/Youtube.
  3. Stupid stuff gets noticed and leads to them getting in trouble, or even big legal trouble with things like the Lloyds building thing going on at the moment.
  4. A big spotlight gets put onto the community and then it makes it harder for everyone who are genuinely passionate about it and don't care about fame and fortune. The big fear is that it eventually leads to a major law change.

I wouldn't say the public need to worry, but explorers have a bad habit of looking pretty dodgy. Most people don't seem to understand what motivates people to clamber into somewhere abandoned and derpy with a bunch of camera gear. So it's assumed they are up to no good. Unfortunately I don't think this perception will ever change.
Wow, this reply adds another dimension to the argument, I've always had a little awareness that the quieter part of the community didn't appreciate the image that big YouTubers were giving the activity. You've raised some very good points that I'll have to take into consideration. Thank you for you opinions :thumb
 

sirjonnyp

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#5
Basically everyone with a bit of sense thinks the youtube goons are cunts for bringing unwanted attention to an activity that is illegal, and can be dangerous. Furthermore, pretty everything they do has been done by someone (here or elsewhere) first, and better (James Kingston in particular). A brief browse of the wankagram accounts that you posted above is all stuff that isn't new. However, when splurged over facebook walls, instagrab accounts and youtubes for likes and profits, it's always presented as some sort of boundary pushing event that's uber-epic. It's not, and just because you put an emoji over your face while you do it doesn't mean the police aren't going to find you and fuck you up (see: the lolololo-lloyds case).

If you do a bit of research on this forum and on the facebook page you'll see that this debate has been had on an increasingly regular basis since one Bradley Garrett decided to sell out. Imagine if he had done what he had done in this day and age with social media, rather than the traditional media.
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#6
On the youtube thing, i think the main issue is that youtube culture and exploring culture are almost polar opposites. Youtubers are always clambering for views or subscribers (and with those comes the money of course!).. The way you get them, by publicising, hyping and generally selling out are the things explorers really hate but in the world of you tube these really seem to be the aim of the whole exercise! The quality of the video you make or the place you have found to explore is only as relevant as how many more views it will get you or how much more money it will make you. Its all just about making money and 'likes and shares' ego massaging..

While its true to say exploring has seen its fair share of publicity hunting, ego loving goons over the years they have not been welcome. The general consensus within our community has always been that publicising is bad (the ultimate outcome is places saying out of the public eye until they are no longer explore-able). Selling out and making money off the hobby, while it does go on is really something people keep hidden from each other. The way we rate each other is on how many good places we can find, how good we are at getting into places other people find impossible and how well we can document them and present them to each other (and when appropriate to the public).

The problem with your questions nowadays is, are you asking them about REAL exploring and people who actually explore or are you asking them about all the people who think they are exploring or claiming to be explorers?? For instance if someone complains that trespassing is wrong i would retort with something along the lines of, 'Yeh, maybe, but look at all the photos of amazing places i have been able to take that would never have been taken had i not trespassed to get them'. Ask the same to a youtuber and what can they say? 'Yeh but it makes me £100 a month'??? They have no comeback because they dont ever find anything or make any positive contribution to society, they are just doing it for the money or the ego boost. Sadly this is true when it comes to most negative views about UE. Real explorers have a come back. What we do is a great service for society, ultimately harmless, done pretty darn safely and with minimum negative impact on anyone. If you start including the wannabees in the equation however it becomes impossible to defend. There arnt any misconceptions. It is wrong to tresspass to make a profit, it is dangerous to climb stuff without safety equipment just so you can sensationalise your video and get more views. Trying to reach as many people as possible with bad content WILL lead to kids killing themselves.
 

knuxxed

Hibnotic
28DL Full Member
#7
I can tell that this is a passionate subject for some of you which is great. Thanks for the replies so far. @sirjonnyp that Garret lad looks like he's taking it a lil' too seriously. How did he gain so much publicity?
 

cunningcorgi

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#9
Would you say that YouTubers/wannabees are the biggest danger to the community. (more than the press) or is it one influencing the other?
I think there is a difference between YouTubers and wannabes.

Everyone has to start somewhere so in essence, everyone was a wannabe before they did anything. It is where you go once you do start that makes a difference.

I think social media - Youtube, Instagram, Facebook - has made a huge difference to urban exploring. It has brought it more into the mainstream for a start, whether that is a good or bad thing. Youtube especially seems to have mushroomed with channels dedicated to exploration / umbex. But you have to wonder with the majority of these channels if the people behind them are doing it for the love of exploration or for getting one more Like or Follow than all the other Youtube channels that are dedicated to exploration ? (The way they post links to their channels advertising something that is 'new' but a lot of non Youtube explorers probably saw in person 3 or 4 years previously would suggest the latter).

But the biggest difference I have seen since the advent of video explores is laziness. It does not really take a lot of imagination to rock up somewhere with a phone on a selfie stick and basically walk around a site describing what you see - the door is missing there, the paint is peeling there, here is a paper from 2017, etc. - and once you finish, off you go to upload your video to your channel. Job done, another one ticked off the list, next.

To me, one photo (along with a report giving history) is worth 1,000,000 videos (and I will admit there can be some good video's out there). A photo captures one specific moment in time and with good imagination in taking says way more than a video. People can draw their own thoughts / conclusions about a place instead of an inane commentary trying to do it for you.

Old school explorers (for want of a better phrase) taking photographs put a hell of a lot more into it than just talking to a video. They research the place they have been, they find old photos of it when it wasn't abandoned, they try to find as much history about a place as they can, they find the best photos they have to show the site as it currently is and try to tell a story with those photos. And it isn't as easy as it sounds. But most importantly, it is about documenting what might well be gone in a couple of years and not about getting more likes than the next man or making more money than the next man (or woman !).

You might remember a good video for a week but you'll remember a good photographic report for years.
 

knuxxed

Hibnotic
28DL Full Member
#10
wow
Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed. If I were to quote anyone on this thread or another should I keep this site anonymous or refer to it as 28 Days Later? I wouldn't want accidentally say anything that could put the activity at further risk so if there is anything that you think I could possibly gloss over when discussing the topic feel free to butt in with something. As I have previously mentioned I might have the chance of interviewing lads who are doing this for the fame, I will raise the points you have made towards them, but would it be possible to interview anyone at the big meet-up. I've only been... semi-active on this site and have looked through old threads and you all seem fairly straight forward and I'd like to get to know more about who you lot really are. This community seems fairly unique and one that I will continue to keep an eye on. (hope that didn't sound cringey)
 

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#12
think there is a difference between YouTubers and wannabes.

Everyone has to start somewhere so in essence, everyone was a wannabe before they did anything. It is where you go once you do start that makes a difference.
I disagree with that. I was photographing derelict industry for posterity before I'd ever heard of "UE". My interest led me to the community, not the other way around as is the case with most new members.
 

Days_Of_Dereliction

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#13
Im happy to give my opinion - Days_of_dereliction is my insta. Contact me through there. I do create youtube videos myself and find it rather frustrating that im seen as either an idiot or trashing buildings when i dont ahaha I find this hobby very interesting and love doing it for the purpose of exploring the history and the story behind what has happened there.
 

cunningcorgi

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#14
I disagree with that. I was photographing derelict industry for posterity before I'd ever heard of "UE". My interest led me to the community, not the other way around as is the case with most new members.
I know what you are saying but when you started photographing industry, did UE even have a name then (knowing how long you have been doing this) ? In effect, you were doing something that had not been caught under the umbrella term 'UE' at the point but was UE.

Totally agree about today though in that most new members are attracted because they see photos of places and not because they are already taking photos and are thinking to themselves 'I can't be the only one doing this sort of thing, surely there are others ?'
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#15
I disagree with that. I was photographing derelict industry for posterity before I'd ever heard of "UE". My interest led me to the community, not the other way around as is the case with most new members.
I agree, while I have not been exploring "that" long I have always had an interest in "old stuff" & always had an interest in photography but never really put the 2 together.
For sure though I had never heard of Urbex when I started & didnt know this underground hobby existed I just got out & did it & enjoyed it!
On the other side my 12yr old lad started exploring with me & loved it but now cant be arsed to actually get out anywhere when he can sit & look at it on youtube! He also convinced thats how hes going to make a living & as much as I try I cant convince him that professional youtuber is not a career!... particularly as there are probably some limited iq folk making more money out of it than I can dream of!