Inspiration

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Michael Wolf's Mega Cities

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By Jessica Hazel

 

Michael Wolf is a photographer who was born in Munich and now lives in Hong Kong. His life's work is focused on life in mega cities, inspired by the time he has spent in Hong Kong since moving there in 1994.

From 1994-2001 Wolf worked as a contract photographer for Stern Magazine before leaving to pursue his own projects, most of which have since been published in his 13 photo books.

It is his visual comments on city life which are his most profound photographs.

'Architecture Of Density' is a harrowing insight into just what high-rise living means for the residents of Hong Kong. It looks like an impression of an industrial utopia, what could happen if we all have to live on top of each other but for hundreds of thousands of people it's a daily reality.

 

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'Industrial' is scarier still, where individual homes can only be deciphered by a house plant, sparse line of washing or a generator.

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'Night' is a slightly more twinkly and pretty affair, still it's hard to contemplate the amount of individual lives taking place onto of one another.

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'Lost Laundry' is a sad but charming observation on garments which become detached from their clothes wire, never to be worn again. It reveals a little humanism, a little life in amongst the uniform surroundings.

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'Earth Gods' is a collection of pictures of shrines, it's nice to see a little colour and prettiness in amongst the dust and industrial nature of the backstreets.

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'Tokyo Compression' redefines the meaning of claustrophobia and makes rush hour on the Tube look like a ride in a limousine.

 

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A closer look into Michael's work is a rewarding and thought-provoking experience, as well as his observations on life in the metropolis is also a collection of images he has gone to great time and trouble to locate on Google street view. Once again finding a little humanity in amongst a maze of street names and buildings.

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Wolf’s work has been exhibited in numerous locations, including the Venice Bienniale For Architecture,  Aperture Gallery, New York;  Museum Centre Vapriikki, Finland, Museum For Work in Hamburg, Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennial, Museum Of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. His work is also held in many permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The San Jose Museum Of Art, The Museum Of Contemporary Photography, Museum Folkwan and the German Museum For Architecture.

Wolf has won first prize in the World Press Photo Award competition on two occasions (2005 and 2010) and received an honorable mention (2011). In 2010, Wolf was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet photography prize.

You can check out more of Michael's work here -  http://photomichaelwolf.com.

 

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