Hi Nicole, could you give us little introduction about who you are and what you do?
My name is Nicole Hendriks and next to my job as a projectmanager at a publishing company, I’m a photographer of abandoned places in decay (urban exploring aka urbex). I travel through Europe and try to capture the beauty I see in crumbling castles and mansions, haunting asylums, derelict hospitals and prisons, rusty remains of industrial locations and chapels overgrown with ivy.
What or who got you interested in photography?
Capturing certain moments on photo in order to be able to remember that day or feeling, is what I have always loved to do. About ten years ago I saw some photos of an abandoned castle in France and I was intrigued immediately. The peeling paint in lovely shades of blue, plants making their way in though the broken windows. I had to know where could this beautiful place be. Who had lived there, and what had happened there to make people just leave it and never look back.
I started to search for clues on the internet and scoured Google earth for hours in order to find it. It was such an adventure to finally find it and photograph that magical castle. From that moment on I was hooked. Straight away I started looking for more places that had been left by mankind and showed beautiful signs of decay, and I have been at it ever since.
Any exciting adventures or funny stories while photographing?
Every trip is exiting because you never know how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes it’s like a walk in the park and other times it’s a true adrenaline rush. One of the most funny stories has to be the time when we were in a creepy medical examining room in Italy. My friend wanted to have her picture taken in style and I had just helped her into a straightjacket, when another friend ran in and told us the Italian police were in front of the building and were getting ready to come in.
With absolutely no time to waste I had to save her by unstrapping the jacket (there are about eight different straps on such a thing!) so she could quickly get dressed, grab her things and run with us. While we were running downstairs she kept on saying that she was still only wearing one shoe. Just in time we escaped through the basement at the back of the building, while the police had come in through the frontdoor.
How do you make time for photography and do you feel it is essential to have side projects?
My job, my family and a boardmembership of a hockeyclub keep me quite busy. But for me it’s absolutely necessary to find or make time for photography. It’s my me-time, my escape from all day to day obligations. A day of photography in forbidden places might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of relaxing, but to me it is in a way. The creativity truly renews my energy.
You have an exhibition coming up in October, can you tell us a bit more about that?
I will be exhibiting with my good friend and fellow photographer Marc Wynen. Marc shares my passion for the abandoned world and when we can, we go on photography trips together. We have both been photographing abandoned places for about ten years now, and decided it would be nice to show our work in a joint exhibition.
The exhibition will take place in the Districsthuis in Deurne (Antwerp), from 19 – 21 October.
This is also when I present my book Secret Places.
Plans or dreams for the future?
I would really like to visit the United States and explore the abandonment there, but I have no specific plans yet. I just hope I will be able to keep on traveling and finding new and exiting abandoned places in beautiful decay to photograph.