“My goal is to capture the beauty in decay, while also capturing a moment of truth. Which is why I don’t change anything about the scenery I find,” Windisch says. He manages to showcase decomposing, desolate spaces in Europe that look both haunting and alluring despite layers of dirt, rotting wood and overgrown brush. They have a post-apocalyptic feel to them.
“Sometimes it takes some time to find the right angle, sometimes I have to wait for the light to be just right. Once I am certain the camera lens is able to capture the truthful atmosphere of the location, I take the picture,” he says. “In post-processing, I try to present the picture like the human eye would see it on location.”
Crumbling grand hotels, deserted train cars and dilapidated Italian villas may seem like unlikely subject matter for a 34-year-old biomedical engineering student at Graz University of Technology. But Windisch’s path to photography was unconventional, too.
After serving in the military, he worked in IT and planned to stick with more technical pursuits. But when he purchased his first camera at age 30, he discovered his more creative side. He tried out different styles, but took a liking to urban exploration or urban decay photography. And critics are taking notice — the relative newcomer’s work has been featured in the Daily Mail, among others.
“I started photography like most people did — flowers, animals and so on. Then you buy a new 50mm lens and ask a friend if she would model for your first portrait shoot,” he says. “When you have some knowledge, you realize where your interests are and you focus on that. I always wanted to travel around the world and experience some adventures, so urban exploration was the perfect genre for me.”
Windisch is constantly on the move, snapping photos of forgotten, abandoned places. When we talked to him, he was traveling through and documenting Chernobyl, an area that few dare to explore (you can follow his travels on Instagram here). It remains barren after suffering the world’s worst nuclear power accident in 1986.
He plans to do some more trips across Europe this year, but he has his lens fixed on a new destination: the United States. He wants to shoot the U.S.’s huge aircraft graveyards. Whether hotels or former airliners, Windisch hasn’t given up on the beauty of the artifacts of travel as it once had been.