Henk van Rensbergen gives us his view on urban exploration

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 03.10.2010

Big thanks to Henk van Rensbergen for taking the time to answer these questions!
Don’t forget to check out the 2 links at the bottom of the interview, higly recommended!

#1

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I was born in 1968 in Brussels, Belgium.

Professionally I’m an airline pilot, flying mainly long haul flights to the Caribbean.

#2

When did you start exploring and what triggered the urbexvirus for you?

The urbex virus must have been in me ever since I was born. Can’t remember not being curious to know what’s behind that closed door!

I must have officially started exploring around age 15 I guess: an abandoned house, later a factory that appeared abandoned but in reality wasn’t, I got arrested straight away!

Image

#3

You have been doing this for a long time, have you seen any big changes in the urbexscene. In terms of attitude towards/or a massive increase in popularity of urban exploring?

Back when I started the word “urbex” didn’t even exist. Popularity has increased with the internet spreading information. It used to be a couple of guys, now it’s thousands. I believe there has to be a discussion about urbex and ethics. I’m talking privacy and respect.

#4

What kind of location would you say is your favorite? Residential, industrial, military or other?

I have no favorite type of location. What matters is the story a building tells me. Obviously it’s nice to hear a different story, visit an unusual building. I was in an 80 years old skyscraper in Detroit recently. That was a completely different experience!

#5

Do you have any tips or recommendations for people who are just starting with urban exploring?

If you want to join a club, you need to follow the rules of that club. This is why I believe we need to set out those rules : don’t “break” your way in, respect the privacy of the owner or the people who may happen to live there, don’t steal anything, leave the place as you found it,…

It’s common sense really, but too many people just seem not to be able to resist.

#6

Do you think of yourself as a photographer who explorers or as a explorer who takes pictures?

I’m an explorer who takes photos

Image


, on Flickr

#7

How many locations did you visit and what was youre favorite?

Over the past 20 years I’ve visited a lot of locations. If I had to pick one it would be the cokes factory of Tertre. It was huge and untouched. I explored for weeks, on my own, the place was mine, I felt completely absorbed. This is 10 years ago, the factory has now been destroyed.

#8

What is your dream location?

Any location that is untouched so that it can tell a story.

#9

What gear do you use when you go out on a full day or days of exploring?

Tripod, canon eos 5DII, wide angle lenses, remote control, spare memory cards and batteries.

2 Flashlights, leatherman, mobile phone with charged battery, food.

In wintertime: warm clothing!

#10

What are your thoughts on HDR photography?

Digital cameras don’t have the same contrast range as analog film. Therefore HDR can be useful to hold detail in dark or light areas. The HDR you are referring to is an exaggeration of this. I usually find the effect very striking and spectacular, but after a while it has a tendency to get boring. Only a few shots hold my attention.

Image


by Bas van Duijn, on Flickr

#11

How would you like to see as a ‘guest of the month’ on Talkurbex and why?

Have you interviewed Troy Paiva yet?

 

Here is the link to Henk’s website and more info about part II of his book coming out!
http://www.abandoned-places.com/salvator-exhibition.html
A truly amazing book!
Website
http://www.abandoned-places.com/

4 comments

#1chrisOctober 4, 2010, 10:56 am

Henk is a really nice person,i meet him personnaly for his exibition and the discution about urbex was so nice!!
Chris

#2RuleOctober 5, 2010, 10:38 am

Nice to read.
I think he’s right when it comes to ethics and such….
Another great interview.

#3BibendumNovember 2, 2010, 10:30 am

I haven’t met Henk in person but we mailed a couple of times and I have to agree; he is a nice person. I have both his books and the first was completely sold out. Lucky for me Henk still had a few and send me one. It even has a nice personal inscription!

#4JAhNoszhNovember 14, 2010, 9:03 am

Still haven’t met Henk yet! I’m always to late for his expositions or i’m not able to come. He’s completely right when it becomes to respect and ethics. Bin busy for something like 10 years and there is a lot changed you can say. Personally I don’t like the hdri effect, in a lot of cases it’s way to much. It’s a bit unreal, but that’s my personal feeling. A realistic feel or more analogue way is what I prefer and find in Henk his photography, hope he stay’s on his own path.

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