‘Transparent City’ – a fantastic series of architectural photography portraying the city of Chicago by Micheal Wolf.
In 2005 Michael Wolf (German, b. 1956) visited Chicago for the first time to participate in a group exhibition for the Museum of Contemporary Photography. As he rode an elevated train from the airport into the city, he began to envision photographing Chicago. For the previous decade, Wolf had been living and working in Hong Kong, attempting to capture the sheer density of people living on the two small islands that make up that city. Wolf examined the endless ranks of residential housing complexes in Hong Kong by removing the horizon line and flattening the space to a relentless abstraction of urban expansion. He noticed, however, that Chicago had an entirely different feel. While Hong Kong is built of endless rows of structures designed and built in a nearly identical style, Chicago has more experimental, unique buildings of many different styles.
Wolf depicts the city more abstractly, focusing less on individual well-known structures and more on the contradictions and conflicts between architectural styles when visually flattened together in a photograph.
In 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, in collaboration with the U.S. Equities Reality artist-in-residence program, invited Wolf to create his first body of work to address an American city. Chicago is known for work by innovative architects such as David Adler, Daniel Burnham, Louis H. Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright, and after World War II, it established itself as a world capital of modern architecture influenced by the international style of Mies van der Rohe and home to notable projects by Helmut Jahn, Philip Johnson, and more recently Frank Gehry. While it has been common for photographers to glorify Chicago’s distinctive architecture and environmental context, Wolf depicts the city more abstractly, focusing less on individual well-known structures and more on the contradictions and conflicts between architectural styles when visually flattened together in a photograph. His pictures look through the multiple layers of glass to reveal the social constructs of living and working in an urban environment, focusing specifically on voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. Wolf explores the complex, sometimes blurred distinctions between private and public life in a city made transparent by his intense observation. Words by: Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator / Museum of Contemporary Photography
Incredible and powerful black and white photographs of storms across the central USA captured by Mitch Dobrowner. See much more of his work on his website.
Words by the photographer:
Landscape photographers count ourselves lucky to be in the right place at the right time if a storm system is moving through — but I wanted to actively pursue these events. Since storms are a process (not a thing) I needed a guide. I soon connected with Roger Hill (regarded as the most experienced storm-chaser in the world); he introduced me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains of the United States.
In July 2009 Roger and I tracked a severe weather system for nine hours — from its formation outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, through Badlands National Park and into Valentine, Nebraska. Eventually we stopped in a field outside of Valentine, and there we stood in awe of the towering supercell (a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraft) which was building with intake wind gusts of 60mph. It was like standing next to a 65,000-foot-high vacuum cleaner. It was unlike anything I had seen before in my life; the formation of the supercell had an ominous presence and power that I had never witnessed or experienced before. I remember turning to Roger, who was standing next to me, and saying, ‘what the ****… you have to be kidding me’. It was only the second day of my “experiment” in shooting storms, but I knew without a doubt that this experiment would become an important project to me.
Words are inadequate to describe the experience of photographing this immense power and beauty. And the most exciting part is with each trip I really don’t know what to expect. But now I see these storms as living, breathing things. They are born when the conditions are right, they gain strength as they grow, they fight against their environment to stay alive, they change form as they age… and eventually they die. They take on so many different aspects, personalities and faces; I’m in awe watching them. These storms are amazing sights to witness…. and I’m just happy to be there—shot or no shot; it’s watching Mother Nature at her finest. My only hope my images can do justice to these amazing phenomenona of nature.
‘Doughnut City’ – Incredible photograph of parking lots in the city of Houston, Texas / photograph from the book: The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History
The term Doughnut City is used to describe a phenomenon that affects the physical shape of some cities of the North American Sun Belt. It consists of the concentration of urban activity on the ring road (where the newest and most advanced generation of housing estates and office parks are located) and the parallel physical disappearance of all that remains inside (the interior is affected by an accelerated process of obsolescence that leads to the demolition of a multitude of buildings). Viewed from a European perspective, the Doughnut City is a phenomenon that goes against nature. If in the cities of the Old Continent proximity to the center means an added value, in the Doughnut City quite the reverse is true: the most eligible urban areas are on the final periphery. (text source)
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Beautiful photographs from his series ‘The Promised Land’ by Stephen Tamiesie /
about the series:
‘Promised Land (2007-2011)
Promised Land examines the once held American belief of Manifest Destiny – the 19th Century mantra that the United States was predestined to spread over the entire continent, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Motivated by President Jefferson and the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Westward settlers quickly achieved this goal when in 1912 Arizona joined as the final state in the continental U.S. forming an uninterrupted nation stretching from coast to coast.
At its conception, Manifest Destiny confronted a territory that was unknown to most Americans. Today it is apparent to anyone headed out on the interstate that the West – once a great frontier – has become accessible in nearly every corner on its surface.
The photographs in this series are appraisals of the American thumbprint on the West, at points where population and a wild landscape intersect. Through these images Promise Land surveys the idea of Manifest Destiny over 150 years since its origin and reveals the results of a once monumental belief now evidenced in the West.’
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