Ondrej Medved

Gone Series:
The Beauty of Urban Exploration in Abandoned Places

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Slovakian artist Ondrej Medved started his love for Photography in 2012. Since then, he has won several local photography awards and it has brought him many satisfactions. Photography plays an important role in Ondrej's life. It means the discovery of the beauty of a world that is often disguised quite well.

Ondrej considers the particular photographic genres as various chapters of a colorful book of life. It is a great challenge for him to capture and present these chapters in a way that they preserve in the minds of the beholders and stay in their memories.

Urban exploration is a big source of inspiration in modern photography. The series "Gone" came into existence more and less by accident. Ondrej was off for a hike and he decided to make a stop in the middle of the Slovakian mountains at an abandoned spa. What he saw was completely out of his expectations. A beautiful place, once full of life, just quietly stood abandoned in front of his eyes. He went into the spa houses and saw the disorder all around. It was a mix of beauty, nostalgia, and sadness.

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The spa kicked him off for another exploration trips - always with the camera on him - Ondrej realized, there are far more abandoned objects around. However, the most interesting one was the former main hospital in Bratislava - his home city. It took him about one year to discover how to get inside - through a steel grid with one segment missing, leading to a flooded underground near to the main entrance hall. He was almost alone there, he was able to walk through the empty long corridors, and listening to the echoes of his footsteps. At that moment he was imagining all the people who, years ago, made the place alive with their happy or sad fates.

The adrenaline was intense, his mind went at full throttle. He was not far from some crazy virtual stories, like a doctor with a grin on his face, giving his patient the last cure for the open window (The last aid). Or a desperate doctor (evidently the same one) looking into the strong light coming from a half-opened door with the scribble on it saying "NO TIX3" (NO EXIT).

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There were also some real, rather vivid stories that will keep in his mind. Ondrej will never forget bumping into a big guy holding metallic tubes in both of his hands. Fortunately, he turned out to be peaceful, but scare homeless man searching for some spare iron. Or, just after shooting the final (5th) version of the NOTIX3, he was heading downstairs for the exit, when he suddenly saw two youngsters coming from behind the corner. Luckily, at that time, Ondrej was not wearing the doctor suit he used to shoot his series. Ondrej can't imagine what would have happened if they have had seen a "doctor" coming on towards them in the abandoned hospital... Nevertheless, the hospital is gone forever now, it was turned into luxury flats. Even that, the pictures remain, depicting the beauty of the spaces and the stories behind them.

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