Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

No Promise of Safety

He’s Baaaaack. Everyone’s favorite urban explorer and photographer seems to have successfully resolved his most recent round of legal problems, with the result that his No Promise of Safety Site is back up. At least for now.

Whoever this guy is, he’s part of a subculture of people who gain unauthorized access to buildings, factories, tunnels, and other parts of urban infrastructure. They appear to be driven a sense of adventure, thrill seeking, curiosity, and a desire to go where few folks ever visit.

I won’t necessarily condone this – especially not the vandalism and grafftti in which they engage – but this sort of thing is one of the many edgy sub-cultures that go into making urban life what it is. I might even suggest without these subcultures, urban life would be a lot more boring.

Also, this guy takes some of the most amazing photography of the places he visits I’ve ever seen. He deserves the title of artist based on these phenomenal photos alone. I strongly suggest checking them out – while you can. Since this guy seems to get in periodic trouble with the law, I might suggest saving a copy of any you can’t bear to live without in case the site disappears again.

Again, the pictures are amazing. Here are a few samples to whet your appetite.


31 stories the hard way:


Sitting on the balcony at Aqua, I believe:



Topics: Architecture and Design, Urban Culture
Cities: Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis

10 Responses to “No Promise of Safety”

  1. I do have to agree with you, the photos are beautiful.

  2. these photos make my sphincter pucker. the guy has some serious cajones.

  3. Curt says:

    I penned a similar “welcome back to the web” post last month. I check his site daily. His taste for Indy is inspiring from a photographer’s point of view. In that respect Im drawn in even more. Good post

  4. Matt (Minneapolis) says:

    Thanks for posting this. Does anyone know what happened to the Kohrman Report blog? It similarly contained many excellent photos of mostly abandoned buildings, and had a restoration/preservation/adaptive re-use concern flavor — no evidence of engagement in “vandalism and graffiti”!

    When done with consideration, surely something like this can have a constructive role in drawing attention to treasures in danger of being forgotten.

  5. Matt, I’ve never heard of the Kohrman Report, alas. Sounds really cool though.

  6. west town ed says:

    After studying the Chicago photo, you have to be right. The sitters (oooh, pucker, pucker, brave souls!) are sitting on the west side of a building with curves and a north perspective, somewhere south of the river — Aqua, most certainly.

    Unrelated and irrelevant to your discussion but I had a dental appointment at my dentist’s office in the Garland Building at Wabash and Washington and arrived early enough so I had a few minutes to walk down State Street to check out the restoration of what was Carson-Pirie-Scott department store now the Sullivan Center. They are still working on the inside but have removed most of the visual barriers that have been in place for the last couple of years to reveal Sullivan’s decorative surrounds on the facade and the results are nothing less than magnificent. Did it ever look this good? As Michelin would say, worth a trip.

  7. Thanks, ed – I’ll have to check out Carson’s soon. Aaron.

  8. 5chw4r7z says:

    I know some guys in Cincinnati who do this, but they leave places exactly how they find them.


  9. ts46064 says:

    Most urban exploring sites and organizations stress that its important to not graffiti and to take nothing but photos.

  10. Steven Vance says:

    I love, love, love the Aqua photo. Three guys just chillin’ on the wavy balcony, no big deal. I can’t even ride the Giant Drop at Six Flags Great America. I love photography: A way to live through others.

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