Seattle – For as long as people have existed the desire to push ourselves has been put to the test. We train, research, engineer and are driven to explore every inch of what we are capable of doing and explore every option to push the boundaries for the human body and spirit. One of the longest traditions of this is exploration of this planet. We have gone from thinking the world was flat to setting sail and exploring the new worlds. We have reached the tallest heights by summiting Mt. Everest and the lowest depths of the Oceans with robots in Mariana trench. Centuries later we still find new ways to fuel our desire to explore. Whether it be our new age space exploration to newly discovered caves that have been long forgotten. Urban Exploration, urbex for short, is a modern day form of exploration. The sport has become increasingly popular over the past couple years.
There are several categories of Urbexing; the more popular form being Rooftopping, which involves going around looking for ways to get on to the roofs of skyscrapers, cranes, and pretty much anything with a view. Abandoned urbexing involves exploring buildings that are deemed for demolition, recently abandoned, or destroyed by fires. Urbexing has strong roots in the world of street art as most explorers have an appreciation for graffiti, photography, and architecture.
We caught up with Seattle based urbexer Jordan Wessels to help explain what urbexing is and how it’s paving the way for new explorers. He shared some of his photos and experiences with us. Wessels grew up in eastern Washington and Idaho and mixes his love of heights, adrenaline and photography to fuel his urbexing adventures. Freshly transplanted to Seattle to attend UW, Wessels has come to team up along with other locals to take to the skies of Seattle’s urbexing scene. Having only lived in Seattle for a short time, he has seen this city in a way that only a handful of people get to see. Treating it as more of an art than anything, Wessels and fellow urbexers try and stay to the same code of ethics as hikers do in the woods,with the “leave no trace and pack it in, pack it out” mentality.
“I have been able to see some of the best views of Seattle and they have all been free” – Jordan Wessels
Taking only to the skies when they are perfect for photography, Wessels’ love for exploring comes second to the photo he might get by waiting a day or two for the weather to be perfect. His dedication to all elements serves as an inspiration to help promote the art and beauty of urbexing. It’s all about pushing the boundaries and taking the perfect picture for him. Wessels has definitely found the perfect balance for fueling his adrenaline rush, yet he is always able to just stop and take in the beauty that is all around.
When you look at his photos, you are submerged into such a trance as if you were there making the climb with him. As much as photography is the leader in what drives Wessels to do what he does, he does not deny that the adrenaline rush is a big part of the thrill. Taking it to the extreme, with his use of Parkour, Freerunning, and gymnastics, Wessels and many other urbexers push the limits by not only climbing to unimaginable heights but by hanging on the sides of cranes towering over the urban wilderness. These brave few that push the limits for their sport make you really question the thin line between human extraordinary talents and just plain Darwinism Awards contenders. The possibilities of how you can approach this new sport/hobby/illegal activity is endless.
Urbexing is an art form that if treated with respect is nothing more than an outlet to show the beauties of the urban landscape to people that may never be able to experience it. Jordan and many other urberxers have done an amazing job of capturing the true essence of what the sport is all about. Every photo tells a story, whether it be of the place they were, their adventure there, or where that adventure is leading them. As urbexing evolves i’m excited to see whom all will be around in the future. Just remember its Just like Jordan said:
“We are not out here to destroy anything, we are just looking for the best views with the biggest rush!”