The Italian Job - Part 1

Way back in April/May 2018 myself and my friend Sam spoke about a week long tour in Europe with models shooting them in and around forgotten buildings, at that point it was just a talk, by the time August came around we had the route planned, locations planned, model Kerry booked in and all the places we were going to stay all booked.

The plan was to set off in to France, drive down and into Italy, spend 4 days in Italy and then drive back up through Switzerland and Belgium, stopping at abandoned buildings shooting Kerry and the architecture along the way.

France has an abundance of grand abandoned buildings from incredible Chateau’s to stunning Chapels, the architecture is just stunning and also this makes for beautiful back drops for portrait photography.

So the first day we started off at a location called the Blue Castle, this is a lovely big chateau given its name for a stunning blue sitting room. It was a massive shame that when we entered the blue room we found it had been attacked by vandals and was now looking in a sorry state, we stayed for a bit and shot some portrait photos with Kerry in a nice bedroom but we were soon on our way to the next location.

ET Church was the next location, it has been given this name due to the fact it looks it could belong on a distant planet, I think they could use this church as a Jedi Temple in a Star Wars film. Most of the village this church is in was destroyed in the second world war including this church, the villagers came together to have the church reconstructed, this was completed in 1959

We stayed here for a while and shot the incredible architecture and then some more portrait photos, i had been to this location a few years before but Sam and Kerry hadn’t seen it and were amazed something like this is left unused…

As we had been up all night traveling we headed off to the first airbnb, on the way we checked out a couple of other locations but we could get in them.

Day 2

We started early as we had a lot of locations to try and many miles to the next airbnb. First stop was a beautiful chapel but there was no way in, next up was another chapel but again no way in, this wasn’t the start to the day we wanted. Next up was a chateau myself and Sam had been too a few weeks before so we hoped it would be second time lucky again….

When we arrived the back door was wide open so luck was on our side, this is such a beautiful chateau, rumoured to be have been once occupied by a former professor who if true clearly like a spot of painting and experimenting from all the chemistry equipment left behind such as: test tubes, syringes, bottles, cylinders and beakers and we found many paintings scattered around the house and a large collection in the attic, as well as a small studio in an upstairs room. We stayed here quite a while, shot some awesome portraits and the rooms.

This Chateau is defiantly one of the best ones i have seen in the last 6years. It always astounds me what some people leave behind. This house must have been left empty for a long time due to the natural decay that is creeping in.

But each room has items left in it as if the owner has just popped out to the shop and this makes each room incredibly photogenic

Back on the road again as we headed down to the south of France, we stopped off at a location call Chateau du theatre which if we could have got in would have been one of the highlights of the trip but we found that the way in had been freshly boarded up. But we didn’t dwell on this we just moved on to the last location of the day Chateau LB which turned out to be one of the the oddest experience i’ve had at an abandoned building.

As we arrived from the moment we parked up we could hear distant music, as we walked through the woods towards the Chateau the nearer we got the louder the music got. We came out of the woods and saw the house and wow what a stunning location but we then realised where the music was coming from…… the was a hippy festival going on in the grounds.

There was people and tents everywhere, lucky for us no one took any notice of us wandering around but we decided it was too risky to try and enter the building with all these people around so we headed off back to the car…. on the way to the airbnb all the talk was about the location and the consensus was that we had to go back and try again but we decided that first thing in the morning was the better time, we just hoped that we could get there while everyone was still asleep.

Too be continued……