What the world would look like if animals ruled it

Henk van Rensbergen, a Belgian photographer and airline pilot, is debuting his latest photo book No Man's Land in September, featuring animals trudging through otherwise uninhabited buildings.

The apocalypse is a common trope in literature, film and art in general, but usually it's use applies exclusively to the human race.

But what about when man is gone and their earthly achievements lay in disrepair? Who does the world belong to then? In one artist's imagination, it would become the literal stomping ground of the flora and fauna left behind. 

In his new photographic series, No Man's Land, Belgian photographer and pilot Henk van Rensbergen proves his theory by showing that such post-humanity scenes already exist in the world today.  

A study in life: A lonely bulldog snoozes on a bed covered in moss in an abandoned apartment in Henk van Rensbergen's new series No Man's Land

A study in life: A lonely bulldog snoozes on a bed covered in moss in an abandoned apartment in Henk van Rensbergen's new series No Man's Land

Left behind: The photo series looks at spaces left behind by humanity that have since been overrun by flora and fauna

Left behind: The photo series looks at spaces left behind by humanity that have since been overrun by flora and fauna

Trespasser: A speckled horse is seen examining the remains of what appears to be an office space in the new series

Trespasser: A speckled horse is seen examining the remains of what appears to be an office space in the new series

The artist has long been an explorer of the world's abandoned structures - places that once teemed with civilization but were left empty shells, often crumbling from neglect. 

The new book, which follows up from Rensenbergen's popular Abandoned Places series and is being published by Lannoo, sees him documenting desolate locales that have become the homes of surrounding wildlife, often showing beasts treading the halls or exploring the spaces of grand mansions, hospitals or even office buildings that haven't seen human life in years. 

The ruined spaces take the focus in the spellbinding images, with the animals depicted simply as occupiers or subjects passing through.

Fit for a parrot: Rensenbergen's work attempts to show what the world would look like if humanity suddenly went extinct

Fit for a parrot: Rensenbergen's work attempts to show what the world would look like if humanity suddenly went extinct

Left in ruins: A wild pig snuffles around the floor of an abandoned shopping mall in Florida

Left in ruins: A wild pig snuffles around the floor of an abandoned shopping mall in Florida

Making a home: This mother and baby elephant look to have settled themselves in a disused parking structure

Making a home: This mother and baby elephant look to have settled themselves in a disused parking structure

Upcoming: The new book, to be published in September, includes an introduction by renowned zoologist Desmond Morris

Upcoming: The new book, to be published in September, includes an introduction by renowned zoologist Desmond Morris

One photo features a wild pig snuffling about the dirtied floor of an abandoned Florida shopping mall, while another shows a mother and baby elephant making a home out of a disused parking structure.

A pair of hyenas wander past an exhibit of taxidermied creatures, possibly in a former museum, and a large monkey lounges in a dingy hospital bed in other images. 

Some photos also emphasize how the plant environment invades these structures, such as a villa whose wall-climbing vines had busted through the doors and windows to crisscross the walls and ceiling, or a bed so old it had grown a patch of moss on which a lonely bulldog lays. 

Lazing around: A large ape is spotted lounging in a former medical center among stretchers and instruments in disrepair

Lazing around: A large ape is spotted lounging in a former medical center among stretchers and instruments in disrepair

Overgrown: The series also looks at buildings that have been invaded by the surrounding plant life

Overgrown: The series also looks at buildings that have been invaded by the surrounding plant life

Going through: The abandoned spaces are the focus of the series, with the creatures depicted as occupants or passersby

Going through: The abandoned spaces are the focus of the series, with the creatures depicted as occupants or passersby

Totally changed: Vines and trees invade former homes of people who have long since left

Totally changed: Vines and trees invade former homes of people who have long since left

The new explorers: The book also contains an epilogue by Flemish novelist Peter Verhelst

The new explorers: The book also contains an epilogue by Flemish novelist Peter Verhelst

Full of curiosity: The stark images show what the world would look like if animals were to take ownership of humanity's legacy

Full of curiosity: The stark images show what the world would look like if animals were to take ownership of humanity's legacy

Rensbergen himself works by day as an airline pilot - a profession that has certainly aided in his childhood passion of urban decay exploration. His work has been shown in multiple exhibitions as well as through his published books.

No Man's Land, which will be available in September, is prefaced by an introduction from renowned zoologist, biologist and artist Desmond Morris, who outlines the truth about the possible world after human extinction.

It also contains an epilogue in the form of a short story by Flemish novelist Peter Verhelst all about the life of the last man left on earth. 

A former life: Hyenas pass by an exhibit of taxidermied wildlife in what may have once been a museum or school

A former life: Hyenas pass by an exhibit of taxidermied wildlife in what may have once been a museum or school

Mooving along: Cows appear to have made this former department store their new home

Mooving along: Cows appear to have made this former department store their new home

Stomping ground: This structure may have once been a school, but the playground hasn't seen children in some time, making way for these giraffes

Stomping ground: This structure may have once been a school, but the playground hasn't seen children in some time, making way for these giraffes

Up top: Rensenbergen's work featuring abandoned places all over the world has also been featured in multiple exhibitions

Up top: Rensenbergen's work featuring abandoned places all over the world has also been featured in multiple exhibitions