Nathan Wright: Cozmic Berliner

Nathan Wright moved to Berlin over 8 years ago after visiting a friend, which suggested that he come to Berlin because of the cheap beer. Nathan has always been interested in photography and began exploring abandoned places at a very young age. He has been selling his work on the markets in Berlin for the past 5 years and you can find him every weekend at the Kunstmarkt Berlin. You can also check him out online at Cozmic Photos.

Nathan studied art at school and “maybe it’s the fact that I’m impatient and I can make a picture like that (snaps fingers)  – even with analog it was faster to take photos than draw.

Beelitz Arches

Beelitz Arches © Nathan Wright

How long have you been urban exploring?

Some of my earliest memories are from the age of about 6 years old.  My father took me to some of the old WW2 areas… airfields and flight towers.  They’re all gone now, they’re all farmers’ fields and you would never know that anything was ever there.  There were also old abandoned homes and we (him and his friends) would just go in there and hang out but we wouldn’t destroy anything.

There were also old Napoleonic forts that we would go into as kids, it would be so dark in there that you would have to feel with your hands along the wall in a tunnel to find where you were going and move slowly with one foot ahead of you to make sure that you didn’t fall into any of the holes.  In the forts there were slits for the soldiers to stick their weapons out of and shafts of light would come into the tunnels – it was beautiful and we were the first ones in there for I don’t know how long.

Evening Light on the Stairs

Evening Light on the Stairs © Nathan Wright

What first drew you to urban exploring?  What about it do you find so appealing? 

The energy, my imagination runs wild – I can see things in my mind’s eye, see what it was like; there’s something about the feeling of walking down that dark corridor – you never know what you might find.  Old things have always interested me.
I feel the energy of places I visit – and some places have good vibes and others have really bad vibes.  There are some places that I feel really drawn to, I really like going there and then there are other places that I can’t go any more because something just feels wrong.  One of my favorite places has a really good energy and even though I’ve been there lots of times I never get tired of it, although it does make me sad to see it in disrepair. It’s almost like visiting an old friend.

You mentioned that your favorite find was the old SED film school.  What is/was so special about that place for you?  

We had an urbex hitlist and one of the things on the list that had never been found was an old projection room. We found the school and I saw the director’s room and the old GDR plastic lock wasn’t very secure.  The room was completely intact and dark, every thing was put away properly and all wrapped up.  We were the first people there, there was an old film cutting table and it was amazing to think about how much propaganda had been through there.  I know for a fact that we were the first ones in there.

Editing Seat

Editing Seat © Nathan Wright

You’ve been the first to discover quite a few places, how exhilarating is that?

The smile never leaves your face the rest of the day – it’s the grin that keeps on giving.

Have you done any urban exploring in other countries, besides Germany?

Been to Poland twice – the first time we didn’t really find anything.  The second time we found an old factory; which was easy to get into.  After a day of shooting we were caught by two old security guards, one of which had a baseball bat and a gun.  The guards only spoke Polish, and brought us into a room and locked the door behind them.  A police officer was eventually called over to where we were being held because we had been caught on video taking photos.  The factory had an old prison; which we weren’t able to get into.  The guards finally let us go, but not before they went through all of our stuff, deleting the images from our memory cards and searching the car, which happened to contain all of my friend’s bee keeping equipment. Then after all was said and done they asked if we needed a hotel.  I’m just really glad we weren’t the criminals they thought we were.

Are places to go urban exploring getting to be fewer and farther between?  Do you think it has a limited shelf life?  I mean, do you think there will be a time when everything will have been photographed?  Or do you think there will always be something new to find?

I think there will always be something new to explore.  Unfortunately, there are too many tourists at the moment; groups of people who don’t really explore – but they just hit up as many places in a day as they can and it’s like a greatest hits tour.  There’s no real interest and it’s more like a passing fad.

Old Officers Barracks

Old Officers Barracks © Nathan Wright

Do you think there’s a right way and a wrong way to explore?  Do you think there’s a certain amount of responsibility and respect that an explorer should have?

You have to respect the building.  There’s a building that we went to in the Harz and the floor just couldn’t be walked on.  The buildings are dangerous and there’s no point in being stupid, you have to be careful.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming film “Ich bin Creative” by Eddie Longmire.  It just premiered in Prague and Nathan is one of the 8 artists featured.

Check out Nathan and his work at Kunstmarkt Berlin or Cozmicphotos.biz

 

Beelitz Hospital

Beelitz Hospital © Nathan Wright

 

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