Claire is not your everyday practitioner of ‘urbex’, the modern underground passion for ‘urban exploration’ that lures 21st-century adventurers into the hidden labyrinths and decaying chambers of disused buildings and urban spaces. Claire is, you see, a bull terrier. And with her photographer companion, Alice Van Kempen, she has created the canine expression of the art…’furbex’.
Furbex: a Dog’s Life of Urban Exploration is a dazzling photographic record of Claire’s adventures among the abandoned spaces of Europe. It captures her ghostly presence in ruined hotels and grand houses, crumbling castles and palaces, broken down factories and prisons, forgotten theatres and cinemas. All have fallen into disrepair, most still display the faded trappings and trampled luxuries of their glorious or inglorious pasts, and many have been spectacularly reclaimed by nature.
Fascinated by shadows and light, past and present, and the mysterious, dark worlds of abandoned places, Alice van Kempen uses thrift shop props and long exposures to create photographs with the air of Old Master paintings; while Claire’s tragi-comic presence imbues every image with the pathos and comedy of a silent movie. In Furbex, they not only present the finest of their unique photographic portfolio, but also recount the tales and raise the ghosts of the lost worlds they have discovered.
The result is a haunting and hilarious book of unique photographs, which will appeal to urban explorers, dog lovers (most particularly the cult following of the bull terrier breed), and all lovers of the Gothic, the mysterious and the absurd.