For me, the love began with seeing dripping, spooky lairs in Ghostbusters 2 and Ninja Turtles III. As a kid, that was enough to send me ducking into abandoned houses, hotels, and schools -- picturing Michelangelo hiding out there, waiting for me to come skateboarding with him. Later on, I joined a ghost-hunting group, though I didn't believe in ghosts at all, because that's the most legit way to get into those massive decaying buildings.
Even today, my best shot at getting permission to enter somewhere I have no business being is to put on my Ghostbusters T-shirt, approach the night watchman, and tell him I'm interested in hearing about what's haunting the place. Every guard has tales of mysterious squeaks and cold spots, so he'll enthusiastically tell me his theories about which restless spirit is tied to the place, while I'll be photographing the weird industrial beauty of rusted machinery and shattered glass.
"Sometimes, I hear footsteps like someone's there!"
Of course, sometimes we go in without permission. Hence the occasional run-ins with police. Also, hence the occasional run-ins with not police. When I see drugs stored in a Ziploc bag or a backpack, that's the dropoff point for a deal -- the money exchange happens in a different spot -- and the dealers may be back any moment, thinking I'm trying to steal their stash. And then there are the criminals unique to abandoned buildings: the scrappers, who trawl for wiring and other material to loot.
One man's trash is another man's trash which he sells for booze money.