We abandon buildings that are no longer serving us, yet time keeps ticking for what remains behind, providing an alluring attraction for urban explorers like Andy Schwetz to capture on camera.
I travel through a hidden world to find the beauty of decay and to breathe in unfiltered history beyond the tourist trail. I tell untold stories and send the viewer on a journey through time.
A former lung hospital in Beelitz built in 1898 is where Sonata of memories was photographed, not too far away from Berlin, in Germany. The hospital has many stories stored up in its walls from its time under both German and Soviet control. Andy relays how he came across the piano.
"I remember roaming the old long corridors in 2012, the echo of my steps and the creaking of the old doors were the only noises I heard. In one room I discovered this weathered piano. Cotton wool around it. It looked like it was floating on clouds."
Sonata of memories is rarer than most, because the remaining photographs of beautiful old Art Nouveau buildings were lost when the hard drive containing the collection failed. We are fortunate to enjoy this singular image...and the buyer may unlock further utility for our NFT community.
Andy has promised that when Sonata of memories finds a collector, the proceeds will repair the hard drive and help unlock the rest of Andy's memories from that day and beyond.
Fortunately Andy has continued to explore the worlds of the 20th Century and mint them on the blockchain where the IPFS stored images aren't as likely to be erased!
"An old couple re-enters the place where they once had their first date after decades. Back then it was the highlight of the month when the live band played, in the otherwise dreary everyday life of communist Romania. They remember their first dance and how their enamored gazes met again and again. She wore this wonderful dress and he his best suit. Today, communism is history, but the old ballroom had also become obsolete." says Andy.
The symmetry of the architecture, the sweeping curves and the pomp of the ceremonious chandelier are all captured here, leaving us to imagine the lives of those who came together for a dance underneath it...and where might they be now.
Unlike the ballroom, few return to the city of Pripryat, in Ukraine. Invisible waves of radioactivity permeate surfaces and leave us vulnerable. S.T.A.L.K.E.R revisits the decay of a hauntingly beautiful cafe, with its beautiful stained glass Soviet mural windows on a background of infinite stars. I've always been oddly attracted to visiting here myself, to experience what a nature reclaimed city feels like.
"Despite all the terrible events that have happened here, it is now an oasis for nature. It's impressive how quickly it recovers when we leave it alone. I realize how much I like being here and how much peace I find here. The exclusion zone is like my second home and I hope to come back soon." says Andy.
Go and find your favourite Andy Schwetz detail of decay on Foundation.
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