Toledo Talk

Urban Decay Annoyance

As many of you Toledo Talk people know, I have been documenting and exploring Urban Decay for years in the Toledo area. In most instances I was the first ever at many locations, which is a large point of pride for Urban Decay explorers and photographers.

There has been a lot of interest in the local press about Urban Decay photography and exploration, and never once have I been contacted. Yet I have seen locations I have explored credited and cited in articles, with interviews given to people who follow my blog for their locations to scout.

Color me annoyed. I am very proud to have explored and discovered these locations, and to see others get the credit in the press makes me angry.

Edit Addition: I am also seriously outraged at the hardcore serious disregard for BASIC safety demonstrated in the photos. See notes below.

created by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 11:34:23 am
updated by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:55:10 pm
    Comments: 18

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Do you have any links to the articles?

Also, out of curiosity, how do you know you are the first person to explore any given location? I don't know much about that scene, but I do see a lot of urban exploring photographs on instagram and other social media.

posted by upso on Aug 01, 2014 at 11:59:06 am     #   1 person liked this

Upso - my articles and photos are dated on my blog. My first online photos were back in 2001, on a secret network that was closed to the public and later deleted to protect it from law enforcement. When I first started the blog years ago I google searched for other photographers, hit instagram, flickr, facebook and more. If they were out there, they were not publishing. There are several underground explorer networks as well that I am on and I am often the only and main person covering materials. I get a lot of emails asking for these locations so that others can follow. From what I have seen photographers publishing popping up in the Toledo area hit my locations, and always after me.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:08:31 pm     #   1 person liked this

It's petty, but I just...I don't know.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:08:46 pm     #   1 person liked this

This article in particular got me going:

Locations Ive gone to for years now....

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:10:56 pm     #  

Also, the people in the photos of that article are not being safe at all. The idea of wearing shorts, and slip on shoes into places that dangerous blows my mind. People die going this...and here is the press showing a photo of them wearing shorts and slip on shoes in a very dangerous building that has serious hazards.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:12:48 pm     #  

Also, those "face masks" in the photos are a joke and do nothing to prevent you from breathing in dangerous materials. Anyone who has done this for long has real breathing equipment for hazardous settings rated for aspetous.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:14:05 pm     #  

In fact, I'm going to write an article about this....this ended up in mass media and is such a bad article that is very dangerous.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:19:17 pm     #  

Call me a cynic, and when it comes to the media I am a big one, but I suspect the people mentioned in the articles contacted the media. And I suspect the writer decided it was easier to reply to an email than to search for other people on the subject.

posted by tolbuck on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:30:28 pm     #   1 person liked this

hmm... I see where you're coming from ohiokimino.

My friend wrote the article you posted... if you read his other columns, it's coming from the perspective of a young person exploring all of the different scenes in Toledo.

My take from that article is not one where he or anyone else is claiming to be the first to explore, but that he is just highlighting that people are doing this.

You should reach out. He's on Facebook and very approachable. I'm sure he'd love to hear your perspective. Maybe you can pitch another scene to explore!

posted by upso on Aug 01, 2014 at 12:48:20 pm     #  

Indulge me for a moment, Ohiokimono. I have truly enjoyed your posts & your spirit of adventure. Also, you are to be commended for finding a way to make beauty from ashes and ugliness.

You are obviously a pioneer and a trend scout -- in the sense of being way out ahead of a trend, then letting your reports back to the laggards become their starting point for similar adventures.

I can see how you would feel slighted when the same story is "discovered" by john-and-jill-come-latelies, with no credit to you and no acknowledgement of your skills.

Newer, less careful people are now wanting to do what you've told us about. You are now the Old Guard with superior knowledge.

Others would benefit from your wisdom, especially about basic safety and appropriate clothing. I see that kind of shorts/open-toe/no goggles nonsense at industrial sites all the time. There are several generations of young folks around now who never had to walk anywhere growing up, certainly never had to cross uneven terrain, and they're unaware of what it means to be striding among broken glass and bent nails.

You could put together a youtube video or a short safety graphic that could be forwarded to other explorers. Every time you find news of an urban expedition on the web, you could attach your safety thing. If it's fun and not bothersome to watch, everyone else will gladly take it up and it could go viral.

Come to think of it, you are a good candidate for a TED talk on this very topic. I hope you will pursue something like it -- it would be good if Toledo got a reputation for the Urban Decay Safety Protocol!

Of course, when I first saw the Blade article, I scrutinized the photo, thinking "Which one is OhioKimono? I know she's in there somewhere!" :-)

posted by viola on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:31:42 pm     #  

I will have a full post later. A small note, I just turned 32...I am still rather young.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:37:54 pm     #  

First and foremost, I would actually someday like to do an in depth talk and lecture on this subject matter. I keep wanting to do a show at the Toledo Art Museum or a major library, but I don't know who to contact. The discussion would be pretty real, discussing the perils, and plight. It also would be a very real look into urban decay, the places and causes as well as the sad history of most of these locations.

Does anyone have connections to a venue that would welcome a Toledo Urban Decay show and lecture at?

Beyond that, I want to reach out to the person who wrote the article but I feel like it will be misunderstood as just "your jealous". The whole article was dangerous. Here...let me point out some other things in this photo that scream of real danger and potential death aside from lacking proper gear....

This article is dangerous, and features people who are blatantly disregarding safety to the point of putting their lives in serious danger. I know those buildings they went into! If they cant even be bothered to wear pants, or proper shoes there is no way they observed proper exploring techniques for unsafe flooring and more.

***These guys were put forward as an EXAMPLE TO THE PUBLIC TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THIS HOBBY!***

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:53:02 pm     #  

Look at the above photo and my notes, the fact that they didn't even have basic proper clothing....and felt "safe" here says something. This is how people in this hobby die, or get seriously maimed.....and it does happen.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:54:36 pm     #  

In my opinion, based on the article and the photos, these young ladies were looking for a "cool" photo-op and story about themselves and this writer for the City Paper agreed. If they were really urban explorers, why is there no substance to their story??

posted by clt212 on Aug 01, 2014 at 01:58:50 pm     #  

Why not write to the editors of the Toledo City Paper, Toledo Free Press, and the Toledo Blade to discuss your interest in being part of stories or even contributing articles or photography for them?

Frankly, since you are very desirous of maintaining your anonymity, finding ways to contact you seems like a lot of work. For example, on your blog you write that interested parties should "feel free to leave a comment on this blog with information on how to contact you regarding this matter."

Thus, you are telling prospective interested parties that they must post contact information on the public blog (reducing to a degree their anonymity) .

You could add at the very least a contact email to your site and not lose any security.

On a side and unrelated note: I suggest that you use a blog archive instead of having all posts shown on the front page. This makes for slower loading, plus people have to scroll down and then wait for the server to add more posts. This lag time might be chasing away potential site visitors.

posted by historymike on Aug 01, 2014 at 02:15:58 pm     #  

I totally get where you're coming from, OhioKimono, but in the arts (as in most other vocations/avocations) you have to establish yourself. And by that, you need to speak out, speak up and let the media know what a treasure trove of knowledge and talent we all have in you!

You are definitely a trailblazer with a lot of experience, and you need to establish that publicly. Seriously. Put together a press packet. Get the word out.

The world can't pound a path to your door unless you've hung up your shingle and said "HERE I AM".

posted by gamegrrl on Aug 01, 2014 at 02:16:11 pm     #   2 people liked this

Historymike - actually, thank you a lot for the suggestions. I'll work on some changes and adjustments shortly.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 02:17:02 pm     #  

I just sent emails with some photos and my blog to the Toledo Art Museum and library, as well as the Toledo Blade. I also found the author on facebook and sent him a note.

We will see. In the mean time, I am going to resume raging out over the article and how stupidly dangerous they were being, and how it ended up being glamorized by the press.

posted by OhioKimono on Aug 01, 2014 at 02:23:00 pm     #