Photographer snaps his model girlfriend in scary abandoned buildings

Crumbling asylums, disused trains and dusty chateaus: Photographer captures haunting images of his model girlfriend posing at eerie abandoned sites

  • Photographer James Kerwin and his model girlfriend Jade have visited 12 countries across Europe so far 
  • Pair scour the continent for eerie abandoned buildings to act as the backdrop to their fashion photo shoots
  • James said: ‘I find places through friends, by chance or by hours and hours of research online’

An abandoned psychiatric hospital for most people would be something to steer well clear of.

But for photographer James Kerwin, just such a place became the springboard for a fashion photo series with a distinctly creepy aesthetic.

After taking a picture of his model girlfriend, Jade, inside the former Severalls Psychiatric Hospital in Colchester, Jade’s hometown, he has gone on to snap her in eerie abandoned buildings in 12 European countries.

Jade in 2015 modelling a floral dress while leaning against a wall inside the abandoned Severalls Asylum in Colchester, Essex

The wallpaper peels from the walls inside this abandoned hotel in France as Jade poses. James says he was pleased Jade’s dress matched the decor

A haunting picture inside Chateau Miranda in Belgium, which used to be a former school. The theme of this shoot was ‘lost child’ 

During a trip to Belgium in 2015 James and Jade carried out a shoot for a local designer. It took place in an abandoned office block

The couple travelled to Poland and found this colourful staircase in an abandoned house and carried out an impromptu shoot

James, who is originally from Norwich, has now built a portfolio of work for himself and Jade by shooting in old chateaus, disused trains and abandoned hotels.

The Severalls Psychiatric Hospital shoot took place in 2015 – and it was a brand new experience for James.

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He said: ‘It was only my second ever image taken inside these dark and poorly lit buildings. 

The ornate walls and candle holders are still intact inside this abandoned French chateau. Jade wears a dress by a Belgium-based designer 

Furniture and a toy pram lay abandoned inside an empty mansion in France. Jade wore a bespoke dress for this eerie shot 

Jade poses in the same spine-chilling Parisian mansion, but wearing a different dress 

The rooms inside this derelict French chateau were still full of furniture. Jade just so happened to have packed this purple dress, which almost blends in with the surroundings

‘We managed to take just three shots before being asked to leave by the security team. Nevertheless, we were happy because we had a great result.

‘The first image that we captured although it’s not the most technical of images, Jade still loves it to this day. It was the start of a story and of a string of images that we were to shoot across Europe and beyond.

‘I find places through friends made over the five years, by chance or by hours and hours of research online.’

Since then, the pair have visited countries including France, Belgium, Hungary and Ukraine, all with Jade’s wardrobe in tow.

The couple have explored several abandoned buildings in the UK including the now empty Royal Hospital Haslar in Hampshire, which used be a military facility

Jade pets a stray dog inside an empty former sanatorium in Georgia. The animal had approached them during the shoot

Jade lays against a smashed up piano outside a derelict palace in central Poland in a shot captured last spring 

Jade poses in the snow outside the the Chateau de Gudanes in the south of France. It was abandoned but has now been renovated by an Australian family 

James added: ‘Jade finds the dresses online, through collaborations with designers and also some of the simpler designs in local charity shops, where she returns them afterwards so not to waste them.

‘Sometimes as well fashion shops and retro designers have contacted us over the past four years and asked us to shoot their dresses or outfits.

‘Each image tells a story of an adventure, travel and portrays my unique style. But it also provides us with memories as time flies by, year after year.’

During a road trip around France, the pair discovered a disused railway carriage and thought it would be the perfect place for a shot of Jade wearing a retro dress 

While the pair were in Hungary, they came across an abandoned Soviet railway train to pose against 

To capture this stunning image, Jade climbed up the steps inside an abandoned former power plant in Hungary wearing a red dress to stand out against the bleak background

In April 2007, James and Jade travelled to Pripyat, a ghost town in Ukraine. They carried out a Tomb Raider-themed shoot overlooking the rooftops 

    • James and Jade are running a photography workshop focusing on ‘lighting on location’ in Woolton Hall in Liverpool in January 2019. Click here for more information. 


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