Pavlos Stamatiades

Pavlos-Stamatiades.com

Not far away from New York City’s glamorous lifestyle, sights and attractions lies a world of unequal growth. A world characterized by a monotonous recurrence of old (not cost-effective for refurbishment) houses, lack of chances for amusement and entertainment, much higher poverty rates and an overall feeling that everything that ruins the City’s glaring image has been exiled there to stay hidden. 

NYC is well known for the idealized nickname “the city that never sleeps.” I chose to make these photographs during nighttime to question this nickname in neighborhoods minutes away from the city’s famous downtown.

I chose neighborhoods like Williamsburg, the Bronx, Borough/Sunset Park, Brighton Beach and Coney Island among others, where the antithesis with the glitz, the growth and the continuous expansion of the City’s Central Business Districts is more than obvious.

— Pavlos Stamatiades, Athens, Greece

Wentao Li

LiWentaoPhoto.com

Hyperreal Landscape
 
As an important aspect of urban culture, urban landscape is the beginning of understanding cities. In the Chinese cities in the transition period, the realistic landscape seems to be full of meaning of super reality. In this day and age, when our cities are constantly moving forward, we are always presented with absurd and hyper-realistic landscapes with diverse plots. The seemingly absurd plots are actually thought-provoking. The concept of hyperreal landscape has both a meaning of hyperreality and a metaphor for reality.
 
Jean Baudrillard believed that hyperreality, as a concept in postmodern discourse, refers to a situation that is more real than reality. In a hyperreal world, everything is real. The urban landscape presented here seems to be, as Baudrillard pointed out, “the reality of today itself is hyperreal, and we all live in the aesthetic illusion of reality.”
 
Hyperreal landscape is a work of gazing at the landscape and combining personal feelings.

— Wentao Li, Liaoyang, China

Jim Roche

JimRoche.ca

My interest has brought me to several industrial reclamation sites this year. I’m wondering if we can fix what is broke. These images are from a much larger group following the landscape over several seasons.

On this reclaimed island I should feel at home. There’s a sense of quiet, comfort, oneness with nature. It’s a conservation area. But I look around and feel there is something odd, something off. Around me are minor woodlands, wetland sloughs, old agricultural fields, much of it recently industrial and waste areas. Some new but struggling trees grow. Brush and light vegetation cover the surface with a visual membrane. Yet even this luscious covering fails to effectuate a sense of continuity that I would expect. 

The thin ground cover is easily scraped away with a finger or a stick. It’s easily scarred by a truck tire. Rocks are often not rocks, but broken pieces of concrete, chips of marble slabs from kitchens and structural elements of urban buildings destroyed, dumped here, and now moved again. 

Lying low and flat, just a few feet above sea level at its highest point, the island’s most distant industrial areas, still active, are within sight.  The surface under my feet, a deep and lush green. Yet even light walking can now leave a track of damage. Feelings of peace and calmness are undone by a single downward glance.

— Jim Roche, Vancouver, Canada

Kathy Toth

KToth.ca

Detroit has something almost no other large city does: a sense of urban space unparalleled in North America. Detroit requires more quiet introspection as I believe many more cities, especially mono-industry-driven ones will die off across this continent in the next 50 years.

Infrared photography is an industrial photography medium that was not used by the public in film or digital form. It was primary used by the military for reconnaissance missions to find hidden targets that could not be found via traditional photography, and also used in laboratories for different applications. It is not photoshop trickery but rather a spectrum of light that is not visible to the human eye.

I find IR images to be the most pure as all sorts of visual pollution we have in the landscape drops off. Signs are no longer visible or polarized in the frame. Billboards and other forms of advertising also drop off. Images are cooler, contain less distracting elements and require more technical knowledge and planning to execute.

I find these images invoke more visceral reactions from viewers and tend to polarize them more vs. a conventional color photograph.

— Kathy Toth, Toronto, Canada

Roelant Meijer

RoelantMeijer.nl

Morningwalks

An important theme for me is to visualize a walk, or more precisely the feeling of a walk. This can be a stroll on a sunny afternoon or a walk of several days or even weeks. I have a preoccupation with empty zones like plains. It is there that you really have to take a close look at the details in order to see some differences in the landscape.

For three years almost every morning I made a walk in the forest close to my home — as a contrast to travels far away where I seek adventure and the extraordinary.

In this case the repetition of every day the same forest sharpened my eyes to the small changes of day to day. The forest turned out to be full of surprises. A rain trail dried up, branches like broken wings after the storm on the path or that one ray of sunlight that warms up a tree. The forest is a living entity and occasionally shows its wrinkles. Signs that are sometimes caused by weather, sometimes by man, evoke questions, challenge my imagination and make me wonder.

— Roelant Meijer, Utrecht, Netherlands

Aleksander Wasilewski

36klatek.pl

The Rawa is a 19.6-km-long river flowing through centers of the main cities of Upper Silesia in Poland: Ruda Śląska, Świętochłowice, Chorzów, and Katowice.

The rapid development of heavy industry and urbanization at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries caused its natural sources to disappear. From then on it was mainly fed with sewage from nearby mines and steel mills and with municipal sewage from growing cities. As a result, some cities have decided to route the river to an underground collector.

These photographs present the landscape of post-industrial cities, on the one hand, degraded by heavy industry, but at the same time slowly recovering thanks to the services sector and new technologies.
 
— Aleksander Wasilewski, Upper Silesia, Poland

John Walz

JohnWalzPhoto.com

I generally put restrictions on my work: each project is limited by the rules of that project. For the entirety of one project I generally try to limit myself to one film format. Film to me seems more like a discipline that demands respect. For a long time, I shot my professional work on film, then at some point I started to shoot a mix of digital and film. Still, my personal work was always on film.

Last summer I did an Instagram thing with a gallery. I was expected to shoot and post a picture every day for a week — a picture that gave viewers a sense of place, of where I live. I entertained the notion of shooting film, but to shoot, develop and scan every day in addition to my other daily responsibilities just seemed impossible.

So, a few weeks before the project started, I started shooting digital landscapes and putting no restrictions on the work. I just made pictures that I thought gave a sense of place and were fun to look at. I enjoyed working like that and have continued. These pictures are the result of that endeavor.

— John Walz, Waterville, Ohio, USA

Blazej Marczak

BMarczak.com

I am interested in observing changes in the constantly-evolving cities and documenting those aspects which might change its purpose, form, meaning or become no more than a memory.

I am curious how we interact, use and shape our surroundings and how the surroundings are shaped for us. When photographing the city I am looking for manifestations of socio-economic forces, which shaped the built environment I am currently documenting.

I moved to Ottawa from Aberdeen, Scotland in 2016 and as previously I am using photography to discover, understand and document my new home. Since my arrival from Scotland I try to decode the new reality I am surrounded by and learn its semiotics.

The range of topics that I regard as noteworthy is broad and eclectic and winter is one of them. I am continuing to document this season not for its so-called picturesque quality but for its transformative force and ability to repurpose the landscape.

Harsh and snowy winter is inseparable from life in Canada but global warming might change that so I want to have a record of the current state. I am not looking for the sublime as the 19-century Romantic artist would — however it is interesting to see how bleak can be perceived as such if we forget about the wider context and frankly, thanks to the technological advances, most of us can afford to do so.

Apart from photographing in frigid conditions, I am also working on documentation of Ottawa’s waterways and other aspects of its urban environment with the hope of creating a more comprehensive body of work about this city.

— Blazej Marczak, Ottawa, Canada

Michael Prais

MichaelPrais.me

Painters and photographers of the uninhabited wilderness have used selection and composition as an antidote for perceived disorder and, thus, suggest a place to venture and explore no matter how dangerous. There are wildernesses within civilization created by abandonment and other unintentional acts. These out-of-the-way places have a certain desolation and emptiness. They suggest loss, separation, alienation, failure, and futility. 

Abandonment is a statement of failure of an object, a construction, a creation, to satisfy the needs of the creator or the owner. Each instance of abandonment begs a historical narrative, in a sense, a minor crime drama with motive, method, and opportunity to be discovered or at least pondered. 

I am a visual explorer that is excited by particular, chance arrangements of items left and found together. I seek out these places where structure and disorder — the designed and the not designed — interact.

— Michael Prais, Geneva, Illinois, USA

Timothy Hyde

Jedwabne, Poland. Abandoned Jewish cemetery where in 1941 half the village of 1,400 murdered the other half.

TimothyHyde.com

Neighbors

We humans are social animals, but also tribal. We harbor a capacity to turn on our neighbors with malevolence, often without warning, sometimes with murderous results. This instinct seems not to diminish with the development of complex modern societies; it continues to manifest itself in the form of hate, intolerance, and bloodshed. This capacity seems to reside not far below the surface.

This atavistic flaw in our character takes many forms that I will explore here, including genocide, massacres, lynching, race riots, mass incarceration, and civil war.

I have been thinking about these issues for many years. Recently, I’ve struggled to find a visual vocabulary to explain and describe both the events and the phenomenon. Unavoidably, part of my exploration focuses on these very limitations: limitations of art in general, and photography in particular. How does one convey what happened in these places? This challenge is interesting in itself. Rarely does much physical evidence remain, though monuments and memorials sometimes serve as perverse scars. Mostly this lack of evidence touches on what Elisa Adami calls “Presence of Absence.” We know terrible things happened in these locations from the historical record — there does seem to be a kind of “after presence” — but is difficult to know for sure, and even more difficult to evince. The absence of physical evidence makes these utterly-ordinary locations all the more poignant.

— Timothy Hyde, Alexandria, Virginia

Lowndes County, Georgia. Here in 1918 Mary Turner was tortured and lynched. She was eight months pregnant.
Soccer field near Srebrinca, Bosnia, where 800 Muslim men and boys were executed by their Serb captors.
Phillips County, Arkansas, where the “Elaine Race War” started in October, 1919, resulting in the death of over 240 African-Americans.
Andersonville, Georgia. Site of Confederate prisoner-of-war camp where 13,000 fellow-countrymen died of disease and starvation.