“It’s often hard to convince people that Olivo Barbieri’s aerial photographs are real,” Metropolis writes.
“They look uncannily like hyperdetailed models, absent the imperfections of reality. Streets are strangely clean, trees look plastic, and odd distortions of scale create the opposite effect of what we expect from aerial photography – a complete overview, like military surveillance.”
Barbieri “achieves the distinctive look by photographing from a helicopter using a tilt-shift lens – a method, he says, that ‘allows me to choose what I really like in focus: like in a written page, we don’t read [it as an] image but one line at a time.'”
It’s geology disguised as sculpted chocolate; a Claymation paradise. Herculean examples of American civic infrastructure look like nothing more than cardboard, flimsy and ridiculous. (Amazingly, the second image, below, is a photograph of Hoover Dam).
“For Barbieri,” Metropolis says, “it is ‘the city as an avatar of itself.'” So if he did take photos of city models someday… would they look real?
I’m left wondering what this techique would achieve in the field of human portraiture. The blurred heads of Francis Bacon meet some kind of plasticized mannequinization of the subject… Pickman’s Model.
The results could be horrific.
(See also BLDGBLOG’s look at the work of Oliver Boberg; and click here for another photo by Barbieri. Meanwhile, thanks to Brent Kissel for the initiating email! Thanks, as well, to Dan who I think might have mentioned Barbieri once…).