Ghost Town Photography


With Halloween on the way, Ghost Town photography is a great way to expand your portfolio. Ghost towns or deserted cities were once inhabited by people, but now, they are abandoned or deserted due to economic failure or perhaps even human or natural disasters. Ghost towns can be found worldwide, most of them rich in history or perfect for photographers who want to capture architecture without the task of avoiding people or editing them out in post. This article will share some of the most famous ghost towns and also their history to help inspire your portfolio.

Chernobyl’s Ghost Town: Pripyat, Ukraine

Ghost town photography of Pripyat
Pripyat, Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Easily one of the most well known ghost towns and the former home of many of the families and workers affected by Chernobyl, Pripyat became a ghost town after the disaster. The ghost town offers a view into the devastating effects of Chernobyl and how nature slowly comes back to claim the space covered by buildings. Despite its dangerous location, Pripyat is open to guided tours with the correct PPE and regulations.

Sand Swamped Ghost Town of Kolmanskop, Nambia

Photography of Ghost town of Kolmanskop Nambia
Kolmanskop, Nambia

Abandoned in 1956, Kolmanskop used to be a hive of activity for diamond mining and was therefore one of the wealthiest towns in Africa in 1910. The most notable thing about the town’s appearance is how sand dunes seemingly swallow the architecture and houses. The ghost town provides for stunning dystopian style photography. However, just like Pripyat, Kolmanskop requires visitors to join guided tours supplied in English, German, and Afrikaan.

Abandoned mining hotspot: Kennecott, Alaska

Kennecott, Alaska, USA

Yet another mining town turned Ghost town, Kennecott, was a hot spot for copper mining, and much like Kolmanskop, once resources ran out, the city became desolate. The town was abandoned in 1938 and is now a historical landmark. Kennecott is both haunting and stunning due to the breathtaking glaciers and valleys that surround the derelict buildings. Although it may not be one of the most famous ghost towns, it is situated within the largest national park in the united states, providing a two in one location for photography.

Failed Paradise: Fortlândia, Brazil

Amazon milk frog

Perhaps now not considered a ghost town due to its rebirth, it became the home of 3,000 people in 2017, Fortlândia still has its ghost town qualities. Forlândia was the failed project of Henry Ford, who sought out to create a rubber plant to fuel his supply of rubber. The town that was built alongside the rubber farm was to house the farm’s workers. The city provided the inhabitants with a school, golf course and swimming pool.

Despite it being seemingly perfect, Ford was very restrictive of the workers’ habits and diets, which encouraged them to riot for their own well being. Alongside the riots, crops began to fail, which consequently, led to the fall and desertion of Fortlândia. Years later, many of the buildings remain abandoned, and the town provides a hot spot for abandoned building photographers with many different settings all in one space. Also with its proximity to the Amazon rainforest, it provides a plethora of different opportunities to photograph.

Whilst visiting Ghost towns across the globe can be an exciting endeavour, it is absolutely critical that you have the utmost respect for the area you are photographing and ensure you have the appropriate permissions to take photos and that you are visiting these areas respectfully and legally.

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