These haunting images capture abandoned homes across Northern Ireland — complete with old prams, unopened food tins, toys and dusty wedding photographs.
Captured by an urban explorer known as Unseen Decay, they show rural houses that have been empty for as long as 30 years.
Atmospheric images show old wooden beds still with the sheets on, wardrobes filled with clothes, birthday cards and religious texts.
The urban explorer, who likes to keep the locations of the homes secret, said: “You could be the first person who has been in there for 20 or 30 years. You see bits and pieces of people’s lives. It’s special because you feel a personal connection to whoever has lived there. Not just through obvious stuff, like letters, but things like hairbrushes — small things that have been part of something living.
“There could be something as simple as a cup sitting there and you think, ‘When was the last time that was put down? When was the last time someone drank out of it?’
“You’ll see a wedding photo and a 90th birthday card in the same place. There was another with a last rites cabinet that a priest would have used before someone died. It’s sad in a way because you see that’s what you leave behind. Without sounding morbid, it hits you with the inevitability of death.”
The photographer, from County Antrim, finds the homes as he drives through the countryside, or through recommendations.
He believes a lot of the homes are rural properties that were abandoned by farming families who built new houses.
He said: “Sometimes it’s the ones that look really unassuming — it will be a little shell of a cottage, and you’ll find these amazing things inside. What I like about it is the not knowing. Because a lot of them are empty shells, you don’t know what you’re going to find.
“It’s mainly rural places. If there’s a house nearby, we will ask permission to go in. What we photograph is always accessible; we never break in. I treat the locations and belongings with respect, and that I never remove items.”
He has also visited an abandoned young offender’s institute — coming across endless corridors, rows of broken sinks — and, unsettlingly, an old dentist’s chair.
He said: “I’ve been doing this for five years. I was always into photography. My first was an old gothic-style building, and that gave me the bug for it. I usually head out on a Sunday morning. Often it’s alone, but there’s also a couple of other people I do it with. It’s a curiosity.
“It’s just the not knowing that I like. You walk into a place and you can see in your head what it must have been like when people first moved in. You get a sense of it and you feel such a connection to them.” (Caters News)
Photography by Unseen Decay/Mercury Press/Caters News
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