Haunting photos of abandoned factories in Europe

This article was originally published by The spaces, a digital publication exploring new ways of living and working.
“My photos bring dead places to life”, declares the photographer and urban explorer Ilan Benattar. The Frenchman traveled through Europe turning his abandoned industrial spaces for his series, “Lost factories.”

Once powerhouses for the production of clothing, electrical appliances and wine, these buildings are now mostly empty. But traces of their past lives are visible just below the surface in some, while other structures are time capsules trapped in a state of surreal stasis.

“One of my favorite photos is from the clothing factory,” says Benattar. Glass-lined pools on the sawtooth roof of the industrial building light up the tables below, which still have their machines (and even spools of wire) in place. “We can imagine all the people who worked on these sewing machines.”

In another photograph, the carriage of a rotting horse – discovered in his hometown of Toulouse – evokes a similar sense of nostalgia. But the series is not just a reverie of a bygone era.

“What attracts me to these abandoned factories is their scale and their symmetry”, enthuses Benattar, self-taught and protector of his discoveries, preferring to keep their places secret. “I love the ‘Gustave Eiffel style’, which is hard to find – but produces photographs with striking geometry.”

Among his most startling images is the interior of an abandoned cooling tower, while another captures the intricately decorated ironwork of a factory’s support beams.

“Lost Factories” is an ongoing series that Benattar hopes to expand to Asia.

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