These Beautiful “Place-Hacking” Photos Will Give You an Adrenaline Rush

Afraid of dizzying heights and forbidden spaces? A movement of urban thrill-seekers explores our cities so you don’t have to.

Forth Rail Bridge, Scotland.All photos by Bradley Garrett/eyevine/zReportage/ZUMA Press

They call themselves “place hackers”—urban adventurers who get a thrill (and bragging rights) from exploring forbidden spaces: old military bases, sewer systems, decommissioned hospitals, power stations—even the odd skyscraper under construction. Just like backpackers, they have an ethical code: no vandalism or theft, take only photographs, leave only footprints. “The idea behind urban exploration is revealing what’s hidden,” explains Bradley Garrett, author of the recent book Explore Everything: Place Hacking the City.  “It’s about going into places that are essentially off limits and, because they are off limits, have been relatively forgotten.” The goal is not just to explore, he adds, but to document and share as well. To wit: Check out these 12 amazing photos from Garrett’s book.


Effra Sewer, South London, UK.

Effra Sewer, South London

Saint Sulpice Church, Paris

King’s Reach Tower, London

New Court Building, London

Ritz-Carlton Residences, Chicago

Legacy Tower, Chicago

Temple Court Building, London

Legacy Tower, Chicago


Lost Kingdom Water Park, Riverside, California

Lost Kingdom Water Park, Riverside, California
GLC Pipe Subways, London, UK

GLC Pipe Subways, London
Skyscraper Crane, Aldgate East, London, UK

Skyscraper Crane, Aldgate East, London


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.