About Bearings

“I don’t know what to say about it all. The entire experience. It’s the love of exploration that has brought me here, but what exactly do I own? Where have I been that nobody else has? Where have I gone that nobody else has played a role? I don’t pretend to say that what I see is my discovery and my discovery alone. In fact, I’m far from pretending THAT. What I record are only the creations of the past. What I see is only what others have seen. I’m just an eye. I’m just a camera. The true revolutionaries are those who have created what I record. The true visionaries are those who have designed these components that have served our time so well that they remain today. We owe our future to them. We owe our past to them. We may not know who they are, but where we are is because of them.

An urban explorer is just a documentarian. We are not those who deserve the credit. We only appreciate the creations that are overlooked. The true credit resides in those of us who are brave and industrious among us to create something beautiful and new. These people may not always be recognized. our job is to ensure that they are recognized. Nothing more. We are not creative or industrious enough to create these things. For this reason we are talented and determined enough to ensure they’re recorded. The built environment is a temporary construct. Just as the historical memory of the United States is little more than two centuries old. WE don’t pretend to say that it’s essential that every single idiosyncrancy is recorded. Instead, we filter out the junk and retain the prescient. It is what remains that is the democratic equivalent of a revolution. “

Bearings is an exploration of our culture, and how humans impact the surrounding environment. This is not an eco-blog, or a policy blog. It simply looks at the landscape around us, interprets its history, and offers commentary on the built environment — in all its beauty and ephemerality.

Many of the buildings are abandoned, but some are not. Each photo will tell us something about our culture. Most photos and stories come from the writer’s own experience, and thus originate from the West Coast of the United States.

Questions & Answers

What are all the thumbnails in each entry for?
These are literal aerial snapshots of the location that is featured in the entry. Sometimes, depending on the sensitivity of the location, the thumbnail is directly linked to Google Maps, so you can see the location in the context of its surroundings.

Why are all of your entries boring?
Not everyone thinks landscape architecture and geography is boring, but if you find it boring, you can always take consolation in the fact that most entries have photos, so you don’t even have to read!

Can you tell me where [insert photo name] was taken?
Some locations, I simply can’t — the land may be on private property, the building may be dangerous, or I just feel that the architecture is best kept secret so kids don’t go in and burn the place down. However, in many cases, the aerial thumbnail at the top left of the entry is linked to the satellite coordinates, so you input driving directions to the places that I don’t mind making publically available.

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