Viewing the Emergent City and Its People

Photography

1001 Street Chairs of Cairo

From Domus

“Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo is a portrait of the capital of Egypt as seen through the lens of the thousands of curious chairs that dot the sidewalks of Cairo.

With a documentary photographic approach, the project seeks to present the creative practices of design that occur on the sidewalks along with the unplanned interventions in the public space that give Cairo its distinctive character.

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Collateral Landscape – seeing it as it is!

Milan-based architect and photographer Antonio Ottomanelli maps the forces unleashed following the events of September 11, 2001, which cast distant realities — Kabul, Baghdad, Sadr City, Herat, Dokan, New York City, Gaza — into a “state of entanglement”.

From  domus

 

  • Top: Residential Zone, Haifa Street,Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011. Above: Durul aman new Parliament House, Durulaman, Afghanistan, September 2010
  • Durul aman new Parliament House, Durulaman, Afghanistan, September 2010

An architect by training, Ottomanelli looks to the inhabited landscapes as a register of human activity, consisting of both destruction and reconstruction. The representation of the landscape is critical but not judgmental; conflict is expressed not through bullet-holes and bomb craters but through images of brand-new gated communities and pristine parliamentary buildings. These places are not the theatre in which the plot unfolds but rather a cast of actors in themselves. The position of the images is not fixed and will change throughout the duration of the exhibition. Selected photographs are accompanied by descriptions of the landscapes, hand-written by the local guides who accompanied Ottomanelli during his reconnaissances.Joseph Grima (@joseph_grima)

Al Zawraa residential zone, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011

 

Through 23 June 2013
Antonio Ottomanelli: Collateral Landscape
Triennale Design Museum

Viale Alemagna 6, Milan

 

 

Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011

Khulafa Street, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011

Manhattan, Financial District, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012

Kaso Mall – Court Street, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011

High Line – West Village, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012

Panoramic viewpoint, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011

  • Panoramic view, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011
  • Panoramic view, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011
Manhattan, Financial District, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012


Painting over the Present—

While these are attractive pictures in themselves , to me they represent another variant of “`Township Porn” that takes a particular view of South African life and uses it to become an emblem for the artist. As far as it seems to me from the few pictures here – those are hardly representative life in South African cities – there are many diverse views possible – both ‘better” and “worse”. I am in no way denying that South African cities are unjust and unequal – but I believe there is a middle ground emerging that is more variegated adn more real thatn thee pictures show.  From domus

 


I began this project 16 years after the end of apartheid rule in South Africa. As a photographer, I have explored the transformation of society and aspects of change as a general theme. In this particular essay I have focused on the environments occupied by some of South Africa’s poorest people. It would seem that although wealth and power have shifted hands since the first democratic elections in 1994, many of the benefits of these shifts have failed to filter down to the grassroots level.

The photographs focus on the interiors and exteriors of people’s homes. They are intentionally static in their composition in order to accentuate the minutiae of the occupants’ day-to-day dwelling places.

The bright colours captured in these photographs act as visual trinkets to momentarily distract the viewer from deeper harsh realities. However, although they encourage denial, they are also suggestive of resilience, hope and, sense of humanity that remains in these poverty-stricken communities.

These photographs were taken in small towns, townships and cities throughout South Africa. It has been surprising to find that although the areas differ in many ways, there are almost always individuals who seemingly refuse to be subsumed into the starkness that surrounds them.Graeme Williams

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Ghostly Condos of New York

“I’ve seen Kelly Ripa there. Two little kids were playing with Legos on the treadmill next to her, and there was nobody else.” — NYT

If you thought China or Dubai are the only places where you enter a multi million dollar condominium just purchased for that unruly son / daughter or a mistress, or laundering money.., hold on… Why is that all sold out prime luxury condo building in New York only occupied 10% with concierge, room service and all?

From Archinect


gurunsi earth houses of burkina faso

From designboom


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington

 

 

the small country of burkina faso near the border to ghana may not have many resources or economic wealth, but with the plentiful raw materials
available the kassena people make some of the most culturally rich and architecturally beautiful villages, such as this one in tiébélé, built using
traditional gurunsi vernacular. the dwellings occupy a community of just over one hectare in area, and are made of a sun-dried mix of clay, soil,
straw and cow droppings moistened to a perfect mortar, mixed by foot to create strong pottery-like structures. these techniques actually preceded
the well known mud-brick constructions of indigenous peoples in the area. layer upon layer are added when needed, maintaining the necessary wall
thickness to withstand rainstorms and extreme temperatures. short walls are used as urban landscaping elements, provide a buttressing support,
and offer supplementary places to sit or work.

 

the most amazing feature, however, is the intricate ornamentation that covers almost every square inch of the dwellings, painted with colored mud
and chalk that tell an expressive story of the ancient tribe’s culture. the motifs can illustrate just about anything from objects used in normal daily life,
to religion and beliefs, to decorative patterns that distinguish one house from the other. the artwork is then embossed with rocks and etchings that
highlight the designs and give a truly unique character. the material, along with small openings usually located closer to the ground assist in comfortable
interior temperatures. the construction is made with abundant resources found on site that can be re-applied endlessly.

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert

 

 


kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington

 


The view from Above

From Urban TImes

Navid Baraty is no ordinary photographer. Inspired by the geometric patterns and noticeable attention to detail ofTokyo’s streets as seen from a skyscraper, he decided to take his work to greater heights — literally. Baraty’s Intersection series is the result of ascending to the heights of skyscrapers in NYC and Tokyo and leaning over the edge to get the perfect shot. His style is unique in the sense that most urban photography takes place at thestreet level, while Baraty has created his own vertigo-inducing style.

I had the opportunity to discuss via email with Navid what inspires his work and what he plans to do next.

Ash Blankenship: What originally inspired you to take up photography as a profession?

Navid Baraty: My interest in photography began in a class in Junior High where we walked around the playground taking photos and then developed our photographs in the school darkroom. I went on to get my degree in electrical engineering and worked as an engineer for about three years before deciding to switch gears and pursue my artistic passion. In my three years of working as an engineer, I dreaded every day of work and always found myself shooting in my spare time. I felt so much happier and creative when I was behind the lens. I decided to get more serious with my work, started doing editorial assignments for publications and eventually made the leap to becoming a professional photographer.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: What inspired your work on the Intersection series?

NB: The idea for my Intersection series first came to me after lunch one afternoon in 2009 in a Tokyo skyscraper. I looked down at the street below and noticed an amazing scene of geometric patterns dotted with umbrella-wielding pedestrians. I really couldn’t believe how geometric it all looked from above. It was almost as if someone designed the Tokyo street with my vantage point in mind. I realized that all the perfectly parallel lines, precise angles and thoughtful proportions were really a reflection of Japanese culture and its meticulous attention to detail and artistic presentation.

When I moved to NYC in 2010, I wanted to continue this series and see what New York looked like from above. Everyone walks around Manhattan looking up at the city, but very few get to look down. When you watch NYC from above, you really get a sense of the energy and flow of the city–the constant stream of yellow taxis lining the avenues, the waves of pedestrians hurriedly crossing at the change of traffic signals, little figures disappearing into the subway stations, the chorus of honking horns and sirens. It’s all so rhythmic.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: Can you explain the process for photographing the Intersection series?

NB: There’s been lots of wild speculation as to how I create these photos. Some people think I have a side job as a helicopter pilot or window washer. One website assumed I was walking around Manhattan with a camera attached to a kite. Some have even called me Spiderman. I actually just take all of these from building rooftops and lean over the edge. A lot of times I have to very securely wrap the camera strap around my arms and extend my arms way over the edge to get the overhead angle that I’m looking for. I’m never concerned for my own personal safety, but do have a huge fear of dropping my camera or a lens over the edge.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: The Intersection series is of New York City and Tokyo. Do you have plans to extend the series to other cities?

NB: Absolutely! I’d love to do the series in as many cities as possible. I’m also revisiting some of the locations that I’ve shot in NYC and doing the series at night. The feeling of a city changes completely from day to night. I’ve realized, however, that not every city makes for equally interesting Intersection shots. If there’s a void of tall skyscrapers, as I found when I visited Paris a couple months back, the shots just don’t have the same dramatic effect.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: What advice can you offer to amateur urban photographers?

NB: Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Take lots of photos. Never stop shooting and take your camera with you everywhere. While patience and persistence are keys to great photos, so much of photography really is about being in the right place at the right time. You want to be sure you have your camera when that happens.

Tokyo Intersection

Tokyo Intersection

Baraty’s Intersection series has been featured in National Geographic, The Daily Mail (UK), News.com.au and other publications. He was the grand prize winner of the California Academy of Sciences Photo Competition in 2011 and received honorable mentions by both PLANET Magazine (2010) and the International Photography Awards (IPA 2011).

You can learn more about Baraty’s work on his website, or follow him on Twitter @navidj.

All photographs courtesy of Navid Baraty.


Following a fading line

From Chennai to Gokarna, a survey of India’s coastline reveals a diverse and fascinating landscape, changing fast due to the country’s growing industrialization: here are some of its multi-layered stories. A photo-essay from Gokarna by Selvaprakash via DOMUS

Cochin, Kerala, India. Sea wall

The coastline of India is 7500 kilometres long and there are nearly 250 million people living within a distance of about 20 kilometres from the shore. This massive expanse of linear land comprehends a wide variety of ecosystems, cultural and culinary traditions, fishing practices and natural resources. It is a diverse and fascinating landscape that tells the story of thousands of years of negotiation and cohabitation between man and nature. The fast growing industrialisation, however, is transforming the coast into an increasingly anthropised landscape and the balance of this ancient dialogue is quickly changing — with dramatic costs for both the people and the environment.

Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, India. Fishermen protest near the proposed nuclear plant on World Fisheries Day. Local fishermen contributed money from their meagre daily earnings to support this protest against the nuclear plant

Selvaprakash has started his project of documentation of this fading world in 2008. He has travelled from Chennai to Gokarna to record the multi-layered stories that the Indian coastline tells. From the protests against the establishment of a nuclear plant in Koodankulam to the devastating consequences of the cyclone Thane on 30 December 2011, Selvaprakash’s photography grants care and attention to the details of a complex human and political narrative.

Ennore,Tamil Nadu, India. The sea is extremely violent in this area. A woman looks at the angry waters from her partially destroyed house

Read and see more:


City of Darkness: The most densely populated place on Earth

By   From Smartplanet was this and intimation of the life of cities to come – Blade Runner without Harrison Ford?

For residents of Kowloon Walled City, life was anarchy.

As many as 50,000 residents, many of which were squaters, were crammed into the 6-acre settlement that once served as a Chinese military outpost. And while the British claimed jurisdiction of the town in Hong Kong after a handover in 1898, the city was largely left alone.

Without health regulations or law enforcement, the community, which comprised of 350 densely packed high-rise buildings, served as a refuge for drug dealers, criminals and gangs. In time, the virtual absence of government oversight lead to a society ruled by powerful mafiosos known as Triads.

By the 1950’s, the city became an epicenter for triad-controlled brothels, casinos, and opium dens. Even the neighborhood doctors and dentists were shady, with many unlicensed practictioners choosing to set up shop locally so that they can operate without fear of prosecution. If the police ever did venture inside, it was only in large heavily armed groups.

Still, reports and testimonials indicate that generally the locals lived peacefully. Photos published in the book “City of Darkness,” which chronicled life within the city, showed children playing on rooftops not too far away from adults taking in the fresh air high above the constant buzz of illegal activity. In fact, the city’s rooftops actually served as an important gathering place, enabling nieghbors to bond and help one another endure the miserable conditions.

That’s because even from such a remote viewpoint, the squaler was unavoidable. Dwellings were built entirely without the help of architects and many apartments were so small (about 250 squre feet) that garbage, TVs, water tanks were stored on rooftops. The lack of building codes and regulations also meant homes had poor foundations and few or no utilities. Outside, the network of staircases and passageways on the upper levels was so extensive that pedestrians can cross the entire city without ever touching solid ground.Conditions improved in the 60s and 70’s when a police crackdown led to over 2,500 arrests and the confiscation of over 4,000 pounds of drugs. Charities, religious societies, and other welfare groups were gradually introduced and the Hong Kong government began to provide water supply and mail services.

Despite these efforts, Hong Kong officials decided in 1987 to demonish the city, athough many residents resisted the forced evictions.

However, by April 1994, Kowloon Walled City was no more.

Photos provided courtesy of Greg Girard / City of Darkness

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Hectic Cityscape Photography

Stephanie Jung is a photographer who questions the planning of large cities.Like the shots of Tokyo and Japan reveals that in the rest of the article, it is looking at pictures of overprints to accentuate the pace of the city. From Fubiz™

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The Surreal Cityscape – Black and White Photography by Martin Stavars

From Photography Blogger

 

Martin Stavars is a master at capturing an incredible tonal range in his images. When combined with his ability to seek out powerful compositions in his cityscapes, the results are phenomenal. I’ve long been a fan of his use of long exposures to capture movement among his stationary subjects.

 

Martin now travels the world to capture his intense and powerful cityscapes – includingLondonHong KongParis, and Tokyo.

 

Martin describes his work below:

 

 

“I’ve always been fascinated by landscapes – places that are absolutely desolate, where I can stay one on one with nature. For me, the growing joy right before pressing the shutter button as well as the possibility of interacting with the world filled with inspiration is as important as the creative act itself. This initial fascination has rapidly grown into obsession that eventually took control over my life.

 

 

Lately, my interests widened to cityscapes, where I pursue qualities characteristic to nature – harmony and peace. As it is getting harder to find traits like that in our more and more hectic world, while taking pictures in the biggest cities in the world I had to develop the most important virtue of a photographer – patience. That is one of the reasons why there are usually no people (or only their silhouettes) on most of my photographs. But such character of my work is also a result of other factor. Whereas taking pictures with the main focus on a person involves emotions that are relatively easy to define, depicting an empty street or portraying pulsing nature usually requires qualitatively different feelings that have to fill in for the missing elements, thus making such photograph something more than a simple document.”

Martin Stavars

Martin Stavars

Martin Stavars

To see more of Martin’s beautiful work, you can visit his portfolio site, or keep up to date with his travels via his Facebook page.