28-year-old Franco-German photographer David de Rueda has always had a passion for the desolate. He created the Urbex.Fr website in 2007, and by the end of 2013, his work was displayed at Paris’ famous La Samaritaine department store. In 2014 he released his first movie, Urban Escape, while he also collaborated on the direction of music videos for Kery James, Maître Gims and other artists.
Last year, the “urban explorer” partnered up with Nikon to capture abandoned locations in Europe that had rarely or never been photographed before. The project provided him with “an opportunity to challenge myself and push my urban exploration photography to another level.” David’s six-week road trip throughout nine European countries resulted in astonishing imagery, that eventually became part of Nikon’s Project Spotlight: Abandoned Places.
“I started urban exploration when I was about 17 years old. I was very curious with these places we see every day, but never get to explore.”
The more David became interested in his genre, the more demanding he became of his gear. In a talk with Nikon Europe, he shares what an urban explorer like himself packs in his “quite small” photography kit, why he packs it, and what you should watch out for. Viewers learn how he not only carries around his D810 and a few lenses, but also a few torches and gloves.
“I like to bring people to these places, because it brings life to them. Because these places are dead.”
“The prototype Soviet Buran spacecraft deep in the Kazakhstan desert was the most epic scene I’ve discovered since picking up a camera. It was a real adventure to get there, and to be able to take photographs of them was the ultimate reward. The feeling when I saw the nose of one of the shuttles with my flash light in the middle of the night was truly indescribable!”
When asked about places he would still like to explore, David tells Resource Travel that “the list is endless!” And he doesn’t seem worried about getting inside of them. “It sometimes requires imagination, but there’s always a way.”