“A culture, we all know, is made by its cities.”
Urban Landscape Photography
Looping, Victor Enrich Artwork
Cities are intriguing living and breathing organisms offering tons of inspiration for artists. Photographers from all around the world recognize the magic of urban space and create stunning images, capturing the spirit of city landscapes. Photography perfectly encompasses imagery within contemporary streets, buildings, skylines, or subways — virtually anywhere humans live. Experiences from urban areas, with patterns and processes occurring in the cities, are preserved forever in a single shot.
While some hard-line landscapists used to argue that taking pictures of man-made environments isn’t true landscape photography, the discussion seems almost pointless these days, when it’s more or less generally agreed that humans are part of nature and that recreation of the space we inhabit is a wonderful object of artistic depiction.
Sometimes the picture of urban photographers remain in a raw state, without computer processing, but many artists turn to altering their works to bring the feeling of the image to another level. One of the most popular techniques is simply turning your picture into black and white, which enhances the structure and drama of the image and ushers in a certain timelessness or nostalgia. HDR photography is another widespread technique that can turn your image into something completely different, almost alien, and take it to another level by representing more contrast in pictures. Here’s one tip for photo processing beginners: if you’re too lazy to study how more elaborate computer programs work, simply download Picasa by Google, the ultimate dummy-proof tool for everyone who likes playing with pictures but who isn’t too passionate about it.
However, several people have even earned artistic credit by significantly changing their pictures of cities by using programs that are usually used by architects or designers. They produce brand new reality within their image, whether it comes to remodelling structures, inserting new features, or twisting the space in the image. Whether it’s old AutoCad or more progressive programs such as Sketchup, Vray, or Rhinoceros, more or less realistic images can be produced on the basis of original work by virtually anyone who is patient enough to master the technique.
The Orchid Hotel Victor Enrich
A great example of such approach an is Victor Enrich, a star of 3D visual art whose work largely consists of altering pieces of architecture that challenge the observer in an inspiring way. This Catalan-born artist went all the way from playing with Lego to creating the most natural-looking images of buildings with distorted space (reminiscent of what the architect woman was doing in Inception). His iconic buildings, resulting from a long process of graphic manipulation, seem to take on their own personality and unbelievable aesthetic quality.
Breaking the boundaries and structured order of the architectural environment of our cities introduces playfulness and a surreal essence to the reality of urban experience. As Mr. Enrich puts it, the only goal of his work is to take his inner world out of his mind, share it, and mix it with outer world as a way to get in contact with people and to communicate with them.
Get a taste of his playful imagination of an urban space all around the world, as some of his most interesting works are included in our list of amazing altered urban landscape images by Victor Enrich. Check it out and get inspired to hit the city with your own camera!
Medusa Tel Aviv, 2011
Medusa by Victor Enrich
A picture of one of the many holiday hotels in Tel Aviv. The Orchid Hotel is built in a very peculiar way: it is placed 90 degrees to the sea, so guests can’t really enjoy the view they are probably looking for during their vacation. That’s why Enrich alters the picture, imagining that most balconies try to twist and get a better view toward the sea, with the result reminiscent of medusa.
Looping, Riga 2007
The bridge in the Mascavas Iela neighbourhood bends upwards when “reaching the energy of the water” coming from one of the major Latvian rivers, the Daugava. Just two miles away from the site of the picture, a huge highway bridge was being built. Its budget exceeded the original proposal by about four times, which was quite a sad irony, since the world financial crisis was starting to hit the country at that time.
Orchid Tel Aviv, 2010
Another picture of the Orchid Hotel (check out the Medusa) was taken from a construction side facing it. The hotel has its main entrance as well as emergency stairs at the back, but the stairs don’t seem to make clear which is the correct direction to take in order to escape. Furthermore, the author hints that in a country ridden by troubles caused by religious fundamentalists, maybe the question is whether it’s enough to escape the hotel instead of fleeing the country itself.
Manuela is Getting Late, Munich 2012
While living in Germany, Enrich hired a private German language teacher that was always very punctual and well-organized. When she was late one day, he wondered what might have had happened and came to the idea that it must have been something really unusual, such as finding the building upside down. The picture is taken from the living room of sculpture artist Christian Engelmann.
VEF Remonts, Riga 2008
This huge, 250-metre industrial factory made of bricks inspired Mr. Enrich, as it was located just in front of his Squad. As he was passing by every day, he started to imagine a “200-metre swimming pool in the rooftop under a Chryptonitic Supermanish Glass Roof in the warmth.” Though I can’t really explain it, the image actually reminds me a bit of the Hamburg Philharmonic, with the sober lower part of the building and off-the-hook design of its top.
Opera, Tel Aviv 2010
The huge, orange bites from the high-rise office building are probably the results of the peculiar dining habits of a monstrous orange spherical creature. Enrich chose orange colour as a counterpart to the light blue shade of the glass and steel building. Opera is the name of the tower.
52 Towers, Helsinki 2007
Here, Enrich decided to propose a merge between a cathedral and the Panoramatic Tower located nearby the 1952 Helsinki Olympics site. By doing so, he connected two very different architectural periods, as their pure white colour binds them together.
Reval City 3, Riga 2007
Reval Hotel in Riga, the monstrous building repeated on the horizon, is the biggest hotel in Latvia’s capital. Repetition of the iconic 90-metre glass and steel landmark of the city makes the contrast with old houses in the city centre even more visible and suggests the banality of the symbol.
12 Ugly Ducks, Munich 2012
The altered 1960s building designed in rather austere style in between two neo-baroque houses with rich ornamentation reminds us that posh aristocratic buildings have lots to hide inside of them… The number 12 in the name of the image denotes the number of apartments located in the middle building.
Deportation, Tel Aviv 2011
This image points to Enrich’s deportation from Israel by the Ministry of the Interior. The authorities’ official reason for that was that he had become a public figure in Tel Aviv and did his artistic work even though his tourist visas didn’t allow any such activities. This picture of high-rise buildings was taken from the entrance of the Ministry of Interior Headquarters. By trying to create the feeling of emptied out space within the buildings, Enrich marks no importance of what’s happening inside for him.
All pictures courtesy of Victor Enrich.