|Courtesy Patrick Devine|
|An abandoned YMCA gym somewhere in St. Louis.|
There is an insatiable appetite in St. Louis to see forgotten, abandoned and hidden spaces. The greater metropolitan area is full of them (like this ballroom, or this mall, or this hospital). At its worst, these images are called "ruin porn," a voyeuristic way for people to shake their heads at urban destruction without doing anything to improve the situation. That may be fair criticism, but there's no denying that these spaces have an eerie beauty that is hard to forget.
The following locals have turned their Instagram eyes away from selfies and brunches, and focus in on these places. Not all of them can be, strictly speaking, termed "urban explorers," but they do explore urban areas and the results are by turns stunning and disturbing (especially an image we've included in the very last page -- be warned that it is graphic and may be upsetting to animal-lovers). In pursuit of this, they don't always shoot in St. Louis, but they're must-follows for anyone who wants to see a different side of American cities.More »