The Peaceful Atmosphere of Abandonment

The theme of our latest photo contest, “Deserted Places,” was ideal for 29-year-old French photographer Romain Thiery whose image “Villa Romantica” was awarded third place.

Romain Thiery Photographer


“South West France in a region full of history,” says Romain. “I started photographing my region’s forgotten legacy following the photography work of my mother. Since 2009 I became professional and specialized in abandoned heritage photography all over Europe. I started exploring abandoned places with my camera and soon became fascinated by those unusual places, forgotten by all, empty and out of time. My main art purpose is to capture the peaceful atmosphere of abandonment and perfectly show the mood, the texture and the light of places people are no longer attracted to. I dive into these spaces that everyone believes are empty and I will stroll for hours, trying to offer a universal and forgotten vision which is majestically renewed. Currently living in Montpellier, South East France, I am now exploring the rest of the world and still looking for abandoned places. My images are now exhibited in France and America and they have also been published in many magazines.”

 “Romain entered a number of impressive images,” comments Roger Driscoll, owner of the Alverton Gallery and joint host of the contest. “However the twisted tree forming the central focus of ‘Villa Romantica’ made the image a standout top three choice.”

“Villa Romantica is an abandoned villa in Italy,” Romain explains “It has been  abandoned for a very long time and nature reclaimed its space inside the building. The villa is very close to a small village, lost in the fields and totally surrounded by high trees and plants growing under the walls. It was quite hard to find it. I really like the way nature reclaimed here and how the tree has grown. Unfortunately I can’t find out anything about the villa and to recover traces of the history. I can imagine it was a large farmer’s family because this villa retains traces of a past grandeur (large rooms and stairs), even though most of the frescoes and paintings have been stolen in the past few years.”

For “Villa Romantica” Romain used a Sony A6000 with a 10-18mm wide-angle Sony lens. This is his preferred combination when  capturing the peaceful atmosphere of abandoned buildings. 

A framed and mounted print of Villa Romantica will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during October 2017 along with the first and second prizes in the gallery’s “Deserted Places” competition.

For further examples of Romain’s work please check out his website and social media: