Lavaria, Cabeço do Pião, Portugal. Copyright © Pedro Mendonça, 2016
Lavaria, Cabeço do Pião, Portugal. Copyright © Pedro Mendonça, 2016

The ruins have always been part of everyday life of communities and acquired, over time, different designs and symbolism, the buildings and the post-industrial spaces dominate the landscape and the territories of many european cities. However, cities have evolved with increasing neglect against this historical and architectural heritage, leaving a vast built heritage, disfigured and sometimes in ruin, which challenges us in anticipation of an intervention. We went through a period of recovery of urban and rural post-industrial spaces with various interventions in existing structures, so it is urgent to value the identity of these places and keeping their memory alive for future generations. The abandonment of the building corresponds to a post-industrial life: withdrawal of machinery (exportable), dismantling and systems theft (sold for scrap) or the smuggling of parts and fine materials (such as copper or iron) accelerate landscape desertification and create new contemporary ruins.

What to do now, before the ruin of industrial space (and business)? Among the romantic contemplation of the tragic beauty of devastated large industrial complexes fixed on the subjective look of amateur photographers and breathless promises of large urban and real estate plans for the regeneration of industrial areas, it is now seeking other modes of intervention that consider materiality and industrial history but, above all, be more restrained than the great past operations.

Someone asked: "Why travel so far to see spoiled things?". It is a matter of perspective. Looking at the pieces of concrete, metal and cement sees more than a structure demolished by time, neglect. One can guess the story, brands and past lives. One can imagine the people one day trod that place when it was still an entire building, when there was still no rust, holes and cracks. There is so much beauty in a ruin, a story in the open.

There is a growing "trend", a new tourism associated with photography, an alternative form of recovery of industrial heritage as an integrated aesthetic element in the cultural landscape, the ruin tourism.


Robinson Factory, Portalegre, Portugal. Copyright © Pedro Mendonça, 2016
Robinson Factory, Portalegre, Portugal. Copyright © Pedro Mendonça, 2016

The factories, ruins and industrial traces offer intense spatial sensations, materials and experiential whom the visit. Spaces and postindustrial ruins echo with narratives and figurations that, we believe, deserve to be heard.

Let's look at imagery of points in ruin, where plastic and poetic potential of other productions and images enabled possible correlations with the work of the photographer.

The research proposes an analysis comprising the ruinous poetic relativizing their sensory faculties. Qualities that focus both on mnemonic questions on issues that deal with the passage of time, be it urban, human or geological.

The properties, while in use (either for housing or other purposes) have an important symbolic: representing life. A house symbolizes the life of its inhabitants, a factory the vital labor and the activity that it develops. The abandonment takes us back to the past, to the transience, to death. It is intended that the photos translate the antithesis of what those places were referring to the comparison between what was going on inside them and what they are now. They are places that life left - dead places, but in these places you can find nostalgia and beauty. And where there is beauty there is photographic potential.

Let's assume the ruin as an aesthetic element ... we freeze time in photographic moments.


Cabeço do Pião, Portugal. Copyright © Diamantino Gonçalves
Cabeço do Pião, Portugal. Copyright © Diamantino Gonçalves

The ruin is the relentless nature of time, the decay, the inevitable death. The ruin is a romantic poem of metal and stone, cement and glass, lives and past experiences.

Shutter speed, aperture, ISO: before it was necessary to master the features of the equipment to be able to create an interesting image. Today, with the diffusion of photo applications on mobile phones, we can all be photographers. The quality of the images taken with smartphones is already comparable to that of digital cameras.

Step 1:

Individually or in group will, in 1st stage, increase knowledge and examples of this booming theme. We can use the links provided or do online research of some of the keywords of this EchoesQuest.

Step 2:

We will also investigate and research basic rules of composition in photography and themes related to photography in post-industrial ruins. Because, despite democratization and photography trivialization, we should know and understand how to capture a visually balanced and interesting image.

Step 3:

After seeing some of the explanatory films on basic composition photography, and read articles on the subject, we will hold an extended visit to the site of Lavaria in Cabeço do Pião and bearing the camera or phone, we will seek and find reasons of interest worthy of become immortalized in image.

Step 4:

After a selection process, it's time to make known the results of the photographic creative process in two ways:

- Virtually, using one of the many virtual pictures broadcast platforms. Prepare a lively presentation slideshow

- Physically, the impression of the photographs and create an exhibition and presentation of images

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge acquired

  • Develop research skills
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Develop communication and team work capacity
  • Understanding the concepts work in a team
  • Understand the concepts of photography

Skills acquired

  • Knowing how to present results as a team member
  • Knowing how to use the Internet for research
  • Knowing capture images according to the basic principles of photography
  • Know how to create physical and virtual photo slideshows

Competences acquired

  • Search, analyze, evaluate and present search results
  • Ability to work in team
  • Ability to look a critical and distant way to the object


Portugal. Copyright Diamantino Gonçalves

Sustainability in simple words are actions and measures that meet the current needs without compromising resources for future generations. In summary, it is to ensure maintenance of long-term features. Tourism is an activity that depends directly on the environment to develop. But when we talk about sustainability in tourism, we can not forget the socio-cultural and economic aspect. It is very common to think only in environmental issues and forget that sustainability is based on these three pillars.

Tourism as a sustainable economic activity promotes the common good and social equity, for this, it will be necessary among other factors disclosure and proper marketing strategy. While sociocultural activity meets basic needs of the local population, respects and does not interfere with the values ​​and traditions of the local community. It provides a positive exchange in the contact between locals and tourists.

At the end of this EchoesQuest the trainee will, in the photographer / tourist role, become aware of an alternative form of recovery of industrial heritage in ruins as an aesthetic element, interacting with local communities, collected images and memories.

Will, through physical and virtual presentations, noted the imagery and aesthetic value of industrial ruin as tourism and enhancing socio-cultural dynamic of post industrial communities, contributing in some way to galvanize them.