Photography duo Tania De Pascalis and Tiago Marques, known as Tiago & Tania, spent six days capturing the blue-tinted stone architecture of Chefchaouen, a 550-year-old village located in the mountains of Morocco. The photo series presents an interesting juxtaposition of everyday life within a fairytale-like aesthetic created by the town’s trademark cerulean walls, which have earned it the nickname “Blue Pearl.”
The lines and curves of the buildings and alleyways are visually augmented as the saturated blues contrast with the surrounding Earth tones, colorful textiles, and the people who move through the town. There are several theories about the history of the blue pigments used to color the walls of the Chefchaouen, which was founded as a refugee camp. According to Atlas Obscura, the refugees painted their homes blue according to Jewish traditions to mimic the sky and as a reminder of “God’s power above.”
Early on in the project, Tiago & Tania were met with some resistance from the town’s inhabitants, some of whom did not want their photos taken. “We experienced a unique challenge in Chechaouen, never encountered in any other location,” they told Colossal. “It was the contrast between our role as photographers and citizens… We decided to change our approach method, making nearly imperceptible our presence and focusing on the sense of hearing to [capture] the right moment. This method allowed us to connect to the hearth of the city, living his timings and moments, realizing the photographic series that gave life to the project of Chefchaouen.”
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Nature Thrives in Tehran’s Abandoned Courtyards, Staircases, and Bedrooms in a Photo Series by Gohar Dashti
Iranian photographer Gohar Dashti was born in Ahwaz during the early years of the Islamic Revolution and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war. Her personal memories of this time influenced her 2017 series Home, which looks at what happens after human displacement. In the photographs, large abandoned spaces are filled with plentiful plants, fleshing out the spaces with lush growth that highlights the absence of human life. “[The] people in Home moved out, and the images show what happens when one’s home is left behind,” she explains in her artist statement. “The photographs reveal the power of nature to consume and conquer a home.”
The sites Dashti choose to photograph around Tehran are not historical, but rather everyday spaces that residents were forced to leave due to social issues. During an interview with LensCulture she recalls visiting her hometown and finding a building that had belonged to her neighbors. “They had left during the war, and the house had fallen into disrepair. But, on their veranda, a fern remained,” she explained. “It had flourished in their absence, and its neck now curved against its own weight. It had the power to stay there. Left alone, it would eventually consume and conquer the home.”
Some scenes are staged to emphasize the power of nature’s unwavering return, while others are stumbled upon and shot as is. No matter what the location the images emphasize Dashti’s personal connections to the country and nature itself. “People are transient while nature is a constant,” she concludes in her artist statement, “it will be here long after we are all gone.” You can see more photographic series from the artist on her website and Instagram. (via LensCulture)
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A Partially Submerged Train Car Provides a Dramatic Entrance to Frankfurt’s Bockenheimer Warte Subway Station
Subway stations are typically just a means to an end, simple structures that allow a large overflow of commuters to enter and exit at will. It is less common for the design to be a destination in itself, like the popular Bockenheimer Warte subway entrance in Frankfurt, Germany. The station, erected in 1986, was built to look as if an old tram car had crash landed into the sidewalk that surrounds the station. The entrance was designed by the architect Zbigniew Peter Pininski who was inspired by René Magritte surrealist paintings. Although slightly dark, the work does have a hint of magical realism, making riders feel as if they are arriving at Platform 9 3/4 rather than just another subway stop in Frankfurt. (via My Modern Met)
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Sculptor Ted Lott builds wooden artworks based on one of human beings’ most fundamental requirements, exploring the different ways in which we’ve devised shelter as a product of the industrial revolution. Lott examines modern architecture at its core by building tiny scale models without the decorative designs imposed by exterior siding and paint. He then combines these bare yet elegant structures with domestic furniture, fusing the basic necessities of home with the comforts provided from within.
To build his works, Lott uses a bandsaw as a scaled sawmill to generate miniature pieces of wood and other proportioned raw materials. Found and vintage furniture provide the base of his structures which are then lit from within as if someone is home.
“Like us, these structures are regular, nevertheless they strive to be unique, transforming their everyday bones into something beyond the banalities of basic needs,” Lott explains in his artist statement. “To me, this is the reason for making objects, to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Through this process we point to the complex interaction of necessity, artistry, economy, function and beauty present in the original objects, while highlighting the possibilities of transformation and growth that are a requirement for the continuation and evolution of life.”
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Designer and Architects of Air founder Alan Parkinson’s latest architecture maze, Daedalum, is a 153-foot long inflatable structure, recently installed in London as a part of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. Light fills the labyrinth’s tunnels through colored panels made of translucent material, bathing the interior in bright and ethereal hues.
Parkinson’s maze is comprised of 19 interconnected egg-shaped domes. Named for the father of Icarus and the designer of the minotaur’s labyrinth from Greek Mythology, Daedalum is one of several traveling luminaria created and installed in over 40 countries since 1992. A highlight of the network of color-soaked roams is the ceiling of its Main Dome, which features a 600-piece pattern inspired by Rome’s Pantheon.
“I design the structures to create a particular encounter with the phenomenon of light,” Parkinson told Dezeen. “I devise an architecture to encourage a sense of wonder.” On his use of inflatables as a medium, the designer said that it is “transient and aspires to be utopian in a way that permanent architecture, with its feet on the ground is often not allowed to be.” He added that as designers he and his team still have to “engage with the parameters that actual architecture engages with–wind-loading, drainage, temperature control and wheelchair accessibility.” (via Dezeen)
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Architectural photographer David Cardelús recently completed an assignment for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casa Vicens. In the grand tradition of ornate “cottages” commissioned by society’s upper class, the 1880’s home was designed and built by Antoni Gaudí for a wealthy broker, Manuel Vicens. Though the city of Barcelona has since been built up to surround Casa Vicens, at the time of its construction it was in a village known as Gràcia. The home is considered the first architectural work of note by Gaudí, and one of the pioneering buildings in Europe’s Modernism movement. It features many Islamic and Oriental architectural motifs and vibrant colors from cadmium red exterior trim to cerulean blue ceilings bring personality to every corner of the home.
Cardelús has captured Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, Gaudí Crypt, Palau Güell, and El Capricho in addition to this most recent series, and he shares with Colossal that he hopes to photograph all of the famous Catalan architect’s buildings some day. Cardelús, who was born and raised in Barcelona, studied photography, film, and video and now lectures on architectural photography at Universitat Pompeu Fabra ELISAVA.
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In the northeast corner of North Dakota lies Devils Lake. It is the largest natural body of water in the state, and yet it holds within it a seemingly unnatural phenomenon. Once-prosperous farming communities used to stand where the lake now is, the reach and depth of the current waters subsuming the abandoned tall silos, stately houses, and squat barns. The lake began rising in 1993 and has risen 35 feet in just over two decades. Due to a lack of outlet for the water and a period of heavy rains in the early 1990’s, the high water simply never subsided, rendering the formerly productive area completely uninhabitable and taking 300 homes with it.
Minnesota-based photographer Paul Johnson (previously) set out during two different seasons, summer (via kayak) and winter, to witness and document the lost community. Large trucks sit embedded up to their wheel wells in thick ice, a silo door is seamlessly mirrored in the water that reaches over its threshold, and barns lean at spectacularly acute angles, seemingly glued in place by the surrounded fresh or frozen water.
“Abandoned places hold a wistful appeal to me and I think to many of us,” Johnson shared in an interview with Passion Passport. “They are the final chapters of unknown stories where we’re left to ponder the details. Their quiet stillness can spur thoughts about the nature of time and the processes of decay and reclamation.” If you are interested in further reading about the history of the area, Modern Farmer has a long-form story from the perspective of a Devils Lake native.
In addition to his still photography, Johnson is continuing to work on animated land art which will be compiled into an upcoming short film. Stay tuned for previews of these pieces on Instagram and Tumblr. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.