BY: JESSICA BEUKER
There is something very eerie yet alluring about an abandoned building. An old house that appears mostly unbroken on the outside — loose shingles, rotting wood and unkempt grass being its only giveaways — was once the warm and inviting home of a family. Now it’s a cold, dusty skeleton that wraps its remaining bones around a pile of debris and memories.
Abandoned places have always intrigued me. I can remember sneaking out in the dead of night with my cousin, pulling into a field outside of town, and walking through the tall, itchy grass to seek out an abandoned school. Parts of it had deteriorated, but most of it still stood on its own. The inside was dimly lit from the moonlight that crept through the building’s fractured windows. What intrigued me most about this place was that it was not empty: far from it, in fact. Bookshelves housing old textbooks and novels, a desk with “I heart Tommy” etched into its side, the most beautiful turquoise typewriter I had ever seen in my life — all of these relics were strewn throughout the rooms. These places overwhelm my mind with curiosity. Why was this building left like this? Why are any places left like this? It was as if everyone was suddenly run out of town by a malicious disease, spreading so quickly that there was no time to grab a book bag.
The beauty that lies in the broken and the abandoned spurs this curiosity. Every notebook on that shelf once belonged to someone. Every item, every picture and every place that has sat alone for hundreds of years has a story to tell.
And Anna Mika wants to tell those stories. A couple of years ago, Mika entered a dilapidated cement plant in Jaworzno, Poland. She instantly fell in love. Since then, she has made it her mission to visit as many abandoned buildings as possible and capture their essence in a photo series called “Abandoned Places.” The pictures showcase the untold stories of these buildings, and give us a chilling look at places that were once full of life.
All photos by: Anna Mika