Buildings get abandoned all the time. For one reason or another, the occupants will leave them behind for Mother Nature to take over. These buildings will oftentimes be forgotten. People will drive right past them without much thought, or they will be demolished entirely. It's a huge shame, because a lot of these buildings have long and interesting histories. When the buildings are forgotten, so are their stories. But fear not, for there are lots of people who have made it their mission to document these stories. These people are called urban explorers. They walk through abandoned places with a camera to take photos and videos of what's left behind, and then post their findings on the internet. And one of the most popular urban exploring groups in recent years are two friends from Florida known as The Proper People.
The Proper People, otherwise known as Bryan and Michael, are two friends who started doing urban exploration as a hobby. They would film videos of their adventures and post them on YouTube. Pretty soon, their videos started to gain popularity, and they started to get more serious about what they were doing. They both switched to film majors in college, and made it their mission to document the histories of abandoned places.
Each video they make is meant to tell a story. They often research a place before they even set foot inside, and use voice overs to explain the history of whatever building they're in. Bryan and Michael often try to get to as many parts of the buildings as possible so they can document everything they can. The footage they collect preserves the sites forever on the internet. The duo has even gone as far as selling prints of their photos so that fans can decorate their homes with a little piece of history. The money they make from their prints goes right back into the channel so that they can keep exploring.
But there is a duality to all this that many people might not think about. By sharing videos of their adventures, the two friends can inadvertently bring some unwanted attention to the sites. Vandals will often go to abandoned places to spray graffiti on the walls, and scrappers can search the building for things they can sell as scrap metal. Other urban explorers will oftentimes take things home from different places as "souvenirs." Of course, this doesn't apply to all of the people who visit these places. But it can be enough of a problem that it ruins the site for everyone else.
This is why Bryan and Michael set rules for themselves. They never take anything from the places they visit. They do their best to leave buildings in the same condition the explorers find them in. There are other times when they won't even reveal the name or location of the places they're visiting. This is to prevent people from finding the places and potentially causing damage. In extreme cases, the duo won't even publish their footage. They'll discover a place that's so perfect that just showing its existence could endanger it. So they decide to keep it to themselves as a story for the ages. They remember it fondly, knowing that they played a small part in its preservation.
The life and history of abandoned places needs to be remembered. It's important to keep the past in mind as we move to the future. But there's another side of preservation that can bring it down. The Proper People handle this in possibly the best way possible. They put measures in place to protect the buildings they visit while still managing to tell their stories. Their love and respect for these places always comes out in each of their videos, and they do a fantastic job at honoring the history of each one.