Villa Hector, Belgium

Continuing my series of posts on November’s Franco-Belgian road trip, I wanted to show you a nice little home we stopped by in Belgian suburbia.

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Located on a very busy street, we were all a little apprehensive about going inside. Traffic was continuous, the house was in clear view and we are not exactly an inconspicuous bunch with our black clothing, heavy bags and tripods. There was also a faint concern that, despite having precise co-ordinates for the target location, there was no clear sign of this place being abandoned at all – were we going to walk in on some old couple watching telly in their sitting room?

Everyone else clearly being a bunch of girly-girls, it fell to me to nip over the road and try the front door. Locked! Bugger! OK then, so much for the easy way – I went looking around for the hard…and much more conspicuous way inside given how exposed we were.

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Once inside I was soon followed by the rest of our group and we proceeded to explore this small but immaculate property.

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It really was a time capsule. I am not sure how long ago the house was left but there was a chilling feeling as you riffled through the cutlery draws and half-read newspapers, that the owners could come back any second. We all knew this was not the case but the mind does run away with the idea when you see so much of the former-residents belongings sitting in cupboards and on tables.

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I have had some truly frightening experiences in my years of urban exploration. Nothing, however, would prepare me for the sight of this honorific creepy cat staring deep into my very soul.

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Every so often I like to shake things up and force myself out of my comfort zone to see what the results are. At the start of this trip I had bought a lovely 30mm lens from a friend. This place seemed like a good venue to test the lens out so I made myself use only this fixed-zoom lens for the entire place.

I would often mix ultra-wide shots with close-up details but, with 30mm on my Canon 600D, I achieved a series of photographs which were similar in angle-of-view to the human eye.

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Like so many residences we saw in Belgium, Catholic iconography abounds.

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Rigidly sticking to the 30mm lens I was unable to get as wide as I normally would so, even when pressing myself right up against the back wall, unusual crops and framing was introduced. As it turned out I actually quite liked it here – the empty space in the centre is something a bit different.

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Could these be the old residents? What happened to them? Did they move? Die? So many questions and so few answers with these places.

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Thanks

MrD

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