Romain Thiery is an award-winning photographer from France who is obsessed with abandoned places and what happens to them after humans leave them behind.
“When nature recovers its rights, the result is simply spectacular,” he writes.
Judging by these incredible photos, which are beautiful and haunting all at the same time, Thiery is truly onto something.
The native French photographer currently resides in Montpellier. Born on July 4, 1988, he grew up to become a self-taught professional photographer.
When he’s not traveling in search of his next abandoned building, he practices a different art form – classical piano. He’s been playing piano since he was 5 years old.
Judging by his work, it appears he’s been taking pictures for just as long, but in fact, he became interested in photography around 10 years ago. He was inspired by his mother’s work in specialized photography.
What began as a hobby of taking pictures developed into a profession, ultimately sparked by the discovery of a long-forgotten piano in an abandoned castle tucked away in southern France.
He writes: “What is it about the piano that evokes such nostalgia and strong emotions within us, even after centuries as a household instrument?”
To this day he strives to find abandoned places that house pianos. Pairing his love for pianos and photography has led to the creation of some of his greatest work.
In fact, many musical institutions have commissioned his work, including Steinway & Songs in Germany – the most prestigious piano brand in the world.
4. Piano in France
“My modus operandi is to scout buildings with abandoned and often broken pianos inside and document them, standing like derelict yet graceful centerpieces within equally derelict interiors, ravaged by the merciless passing of time.”
If you are interested in Thiery’s work related to abandoned pianos, check out his book Requiem Pour Pianos. To create this book, Thiery explored France, Spain, Belgium, Czechia, Poland, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania.
His piano series brought attention to his artwork, pushing him into the spotlight.
“My book ‘Requiem pour pianos’ recounts my 10 years traveling throughout Europe in search of forgotten pianos.”
“I sometimes find abandoned places with former owners’ personal belongings left behind. It seems as if time had stopped at a specific moment there.”
Perhaps that’s part of the intrigue to his work; all of the unanswered questions that linger beneath the surface. Why did humans ever leave what was once such a beautiful place? Where are they now? If these walls could talk, what would they say?
Thiery doesn’t just snap his photos and skedaddle. Instead, he spends hours roaming these abandoned places – scouring the scene for hidden treasures, forgotten relics.
“I dive into the spaces that everyone thinks are empty. I wander there for hours on end. The aim of my art is to find those elements of life that people consider to be dead and capture them with my camera.”
At one point, everything belonged to nature. Then humans come along and claim it as their own. It’s so beautiful to see nature stepping up and reclaiming its rightful land.
This one resembles a painting more than real life…
Over the years, Theiry has won international photography awards from a variety of competitions and photography festivals, including the Israel Photography festival and Uzes Photography festival in France.
His solo exhibitions have been featured all over the world – in the US, France, Norway, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Once a special spot where people made memories playing on bumper cars is now a ghostly reminder of the past…
This is an old abandoned coal power tower in Belgium called Power Plant IM.
The wallpaper is peeling and the floors are decaying, while moss grows in place of manmade materials.
An old gymnasium is reclaimed by nature