The body of work entitled "S" for Stadt (city) consists of large black-and-white photographs that are composed of multiple images. Diverse architectural structures and geographical locations are combined within a single picture. These works clearly reference documentary photography but at the same time contradict it with their photographic fictions.
From monumental industrial architecture to the interiors of strange machines, from night views of cities flickering like active volcanoes to gleaming high-tech laboratories, from neat boxes of fruits or vegetables to the sprawling agro-industrial farmlands of Argentina—Carlo Valsecchi alternates between the near and the far, between precise figuration and poetic abstraction. His large-format photographs, devoid of human presence, often take unexpected vantage points, which, while initially destabilizing our perception, then encourage us to engage more actively with the image.
Although much of his work is clearly within the strong tradition of the industrial landscape developed by the German school (Becher, Gursky), Valsecchi has found his own expressive register, tending toward the monochrome. The special qualities of the images have to do with the extremely soft palette and nuanced chromatic scale, features that sharply differentiate his photographs from mainstream color practice. Painterly in its sensibility, Valsecchi's work evokes the pictorial grandeur of American Abstract Expressionism.
Silhouettes of overhead cables, fire escapes and construction cranes against grey skies, producing a black-and-white effect. Or, in sharp sunlight, he would shoot full-frontal views of the facades of timbered houses and sheds in industrial plants, making them look like architectural drawings.
In the mid-1960s, Helmer-Petersen — more than any other photographer — adapted the evolving trend of intellectual structuralism to the art of photography. The result was his exhibition Structurer (1965) with pictures of leafless tree branches set against a light grey winter sky or patterns created by partially snow-covered ice-floes on Copenhagen's lakes. Some of the photographs were enlarged so much that they bordered on abstraction while presenting a microcosm of nature's material structures.
A photographic research project on light bulbs, photographed in hap hazard situations around the world, carried out over a period of four years. This documentary is now presented in a book published in 2005 by the Steidl Editions.
The photographs of Toshio Shibata convey a powerful drama generated by the conflict of natural forces against man-made structures. Water spills, crashes, glides, and pours over walls, sluices, concrete blocks and channels, in an endless gravity- propelled dance. Huge structures wind around highways and grasp the hillsides on which they are built. Using an 8 x 10-inch camera, he eliminates most references to scale, placement, and point of view while providing crisp detail and texture. Under Shibata's eye, the man-altered landscape becomes a mysterious abstract composition in which the shapes and patterns intrinsic to both the natural and artificial forms becomes visible.
'Places to Hide'
"When I was a little boy, I used to like hiding in a quiet and isolated area. It could be under a desk, in the corner of a balcony, or inside a closet. Whenever I inhabited certain private spaces, it gave me a feeling of security. I believe that feeling is derived from a homing instinct which causes animals to go back to their primal territory. Unlike animals such as fish or birds, which have places to go some day; human beings, unfortunately, have no way of returning to their homing territory, the womb. I do believe human beings have an inherent longing for a place like a womb in that it once provided us with a comfortable, quiet, and safe place as well as nutrition when we were infants. For this series titled "Places to Hide," I intended to project this human desire for an enclosed area by placing naked bodies in those tiny spots, suggesting them as infants hiding inside the womb in urban cities. "
Rut Blees Luxemburg
"I’m fascinated by the city, by its dense, urban condition. We were talking about influences and in the city you’re in this environment where you’re constantly being connected to something different. Constantly being pushed or pulled, informed or confused, it’s a very vibrant and productive environment because things can happen in a city. Things can also happen in the countryside but usually at a much slower speed. The city is a place of possibility. Possibility for the individual but also possibility for the society as a whole. It offers another type of freedom. I work at night because, again, it’s an interesting zone when the daily events and informal laws, the commerce and trade, all of which dominate the daily experience, come to a standstill. So there’s a gap in the night for anticipation."
Chicago based photographer Brad Temkin(American, b.1956) has been documenting the human impact on the contemporary landscape for over 30 years. His new series titled Rooftop, Temkin documents the growing trend of green roofs and rooftop gardens all over the world. These large-format elevated landscapes serve as important markers of the cultural shift towards sustainable design.