“When you look at a city, it’s like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it.”
Hugh Newell Jacobsen

The greatest architectural gestures of our civilisation, the very epitome and physical embodiment of that civilisation, the apparently random and chaotic surge of something intended and planned, the phenomenal paradox of achievement and disaster, the home of ultimate construction and destruction, the Twenty-First century city, is outpacing any attempt to define its nature the very second an image is formed of it. How to represent, how to see, how to know, this most mercurial of forms, that constantly defies notions of what is attainable? As a photographer, the emerging conurbations, the fresh unimagined megalopolises demand a perspective. This is a quest for scope. These horizons, where the patterns and grids of vast populations are assembled out of seeming chaos, are a bright optimistic contribution, a means of attempting to see a future that is happening right now.

Constant sky

left: Downtown São Paulo seen from the top of the Edificio Italiano.With a population of eleven million residents São Paulo is the most populous city in the Southern hemisphere. São Paulo, Brazil, 2008

right: Cuzco seen from Christo Blanco. The city has a population of 350,000 and is located at an altitude of 3,300m. Peru, 2008

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Slicing cities

left: Highway in downtown São Paulo. Brazil, 2008

right: A man ascending an arch of Lupu Bridge over the Huangpu River. Shanghai, China, 2007

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< Previous Chapter Extract

Extract from my architectural photography book: Drawing Parallels, Architecture Observed

Text & Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010