james kerwin photographs abandoned industrial relics in latest series ‘apparatus’. known for his photography work shooting grand buildings, mansions and palaces, this time, the UK-based photographer travelled across europe and beyond to produce a series of empty, derelict buildings that were once sites for the production of clothing, electricity and coal. 

the changing rooms of a very large coal mine – at its peak it produced upwards of 2,500,000 tonnes of coal per year and had over 8,000 employees
all photographs © james kerwin



‘when taking these images I always look for elements that are present in my other bodies of work – straight lines, pleasing compositions and color,’ explains james kerwin, who started working as a full-time photographer last year. ‘I have even gone as far as shooting some of these locations at night time, if I feel I can add to the color that exists by bringing my own lighting, something that I did in spain,’ he continues. the series, that kerwin started working on in 2014, includes various industrial relics found in italy, spain, belgium and other locations across europe. 

changing rooms filled with hundreds of ‘kaue’ (baskets), each of which is suspended on a chain and assigned a specific number and worker, who would store their clothes inside and hoist up

a long abandoned and symmetrical hydroelectric power station in central italy

a power station in scotland that was built to provide electricity to the mill next door -a biomass power station replaced the ageing coal plant in 2012

a small and retro looking electrical substation in belgium

the former electrical engineering substation in belgium

former electrical substation in abhkazia -a disputed territory on the eastern coast of the black sea, in northwestern georgia

siège simon was one of the largest coal mines in the lorraine region of france, with five mine shafts – at its peak it employed up to 360,000 employees and extracted 58.9 million tons of coal

the concrete columns inside this huge former car factory in italy supported electrical wiring

an abandoned textile factory in italy with rows of sewing machines and work stations

a marvel of technology over a century ago, this disused power station in budapest offers a lovely glimpse into the industrial art deco designs of the past

a former mine in spain, this dome was lit by the photographer by hand, holding and firing speed lights into the frame exposing for 90 seconds



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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