In the mid-1970s, German artist Thomas Struth took a series of photos of the deserted streets Dusseldorf, using a 35mm SLR camera, without any digital manipulation. Here's my tribute to this great photographer who belong to the school of the New-Topographics.
This article is another tribute to a master of the New-Topographics school, an artistic movement dedicated to the man-altered territory. In the mid-1970s, German artist Thomas Struth took a series of photos of the deserted streets Dusseldorf, using a 35mm SLR camera, without any digital manipulation. All these photos are characterized by a strong central perspective, and the photographs are neither staged nor manipulated in post-production. He also avoided the strong contrast of light and shadows.
His idea was influenced by the sculptures of George Segal and Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings of imaginary urban spaces. In the following years, he used a similar approach to photograph the empty streets of other cities around the world, such as Rome, Naples, London, New York, and Tokyo.
His works are featured in the book “Thomas Struth: Unconscious Places” which contains more than 200 photographs of 53 locations in 16 countries.
“The first impressions helps me to realize how deeply the architecture and urbanism represent what the people is and what the people wants: its capabilities, its limitations and its failures. The road, with its buildings, and with the gaps created where once were (or could have been) other buildings, is imprinted in the minds and in the hearts of its inhabitants, and has an effect that lasts for a long time.”
- Common Ground, ed. Marsilio, 2012.
To make a tribute to Struth I took a series of photos of empty streets of my city (Como), waiting patiently for some moments without traffic or without people around. I used my trusty Praktica MTL5 camera with a 28mm lens, loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400. Following the master, I chose a central perspective in every road and to avoid high contrast or shadows. I took these photos on a cloudy day in January. I avoided photos of monumental and artistic places, concentrating on some common streets which are seldom explored by photographers and tourists.
He opened my eyes and my mind to discover the urban nonsense of the modern part of my city. You can visit the official website of this great artist to learn more about him and his work.
Salute to the Masters is a series dedicated to great photographers that I like. I posted other tributes for Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore, Gabriele Basilico, Robert Adams, J.H. Lartigue, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Gianni Berengo Gardin and Izis. I especially love street photography and urban architectural photography.