Michael Wolf’s Hypnotic Photographs Document Hong Kong’s Architectural Density

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For his series, “The Architecture of Density,” German photographer Michael Wolf captures the intense suffocating density of the city of Hong Kong. The framing of the buildings and apartment units creates a flattened, patterned image with details of individual residencies apparent only on closer inspection. The result is an abstraction that gives the appearance of infinity, as if these incredibly compact and dense structures never end. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, with an overall density of around 6,700 people per square kilometer, a fact you may recall from a previously featured photography series of the city’s cramped slums.

Wolf’s work is primarily concerned with urban landscapes and places, not always in such an objective, distanced manner. His series, Tokyo Compression, captures Tokyo subway users’ faces pressed up onto the glass of the subway car, a result of the overcrowding of this form of transportation. No matter the proximity to his subjects, Wolf offers a new perspective on the movement and energy of city life in his documentation of its density. (via curious history)

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Tokyo’s Compressed Subway Riders

Tokyo’s subway is infamous for its cramped conditions but the psychological effects of the uncompromising close human proximity experienced daily by thousands of workers are rarely depicted.  Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression captures the moment and reaction when individuals are forcefully sandwiched between their fellow commuters and the parameters of the carriage. Heads are bowed, sometimes contorted unwillingly into unnatural positions of supposed rest. Noses, fingers and knuckles are compressed against the glass, eyes are almost always shut.

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Michael Wolf’s Copy Artists

Michael Wolf’s photographs of Chinese copy artists is absolutely brilliant. I’ve always heard stories about how you can get anything copied in China for dirt cheap but  this series absolutely blows me away. I love the tiled alleys that the photos are taken in and the casual nature of the copycats. For instance check out the water flowing towards the painting in the above image. What if that really was the Mona Lisa? Can you imagine someone dragging it into the alley into a puddle for a quick photo op?

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