Photographed by Roman Robroek
This semi-abandoned power station located in Hungary, named Kelenfold, is a true gem among industrial locations and was once Europe’s most advanced power station. The control room itself has been abandoned for quite some time, but most parts of the location are still in use providing power to a major city nearby.
In its early days the station was actually the first boiler house, first electricity supplier of the area and Europe’s first electricity exchange. The most precious feature of the station is the amazing art-deco control room with a huge glass ceiling, which was shut down around 2005. It was designed by two architects around 1927 by Kálmán Reichl and Virgil Borbíro, and was constructed within 2 years. The control room is protected by Hungarian law shielding it from ever being torn down. Unfortunately, this also means the control room isn’t being touched at all, thus also not being restored. The box-building, that looks like a small house, was actually built as a shelter for the workers in case the station would be bombed during WW II. That didn’t happen.
Once thriving buildings now ravaged by nature and time are the subject of this fascinating book. The vestiges of Abkhazia, a country that does not exist, an abandoned power plant turned into a set for Hollywood movies, the Buffer Zone in Cyprus, the ghost city of the Chernobyl disaster, an Art Nouveau theatre in Brussels, a unique 18th-century Italian fortification, the city of Tskaltubo with its waters of immortality and one of the oldest baths in Romania are examples of the beautiful locations and history featured in this collection of adventures over the past 10 year.
“ The forgotten” holds a very special sort of fascination. Decay, where once was luxury. Stillness in places that were bursting with life. Powerful reminders of changing tides and changing times. The new book from photographer Roman Robroek captures the spirit and perhaps the ghosts of places that hold stories and past lives. From the abandoned city of Chernobyl, down to the guts of old European theaters, abandoned buildings used as famous movie sets, and lavish palaces far from their former glory, he has seen it all, capturing beautiful images through the scope of his lenses.
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. The dualism in the book title reflects the moving and one-of-a-kind story of each place photographed by Roman.
Hungry for more than just pictures, Roman took a closer look, hoping to answer some open questions, or at least to come closer to understanding the who, why, and how of all of the haunting locations he explored. He would approach his photography as someone with a desire to document, but also as someone who can see the beauty in a cracked ceiling, the textural qualities of decay, which in some way, might represent nature taking over in the ever-so-delicate balance of mankind making, and having to constantly struggle with time and things that happen around us. 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.
Roman Robroek is a professional photographer who captures forgotten places around the world. In particular, he is focused on creating stunning photos of abandoned locations, rich with wonder, mystery and unanswered questions.
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