PHOTOS: Artist Christoph Gielen spots interesting patterns in urban sprawl

Urban sprawl isn’t something you think about everyday, except perhaps when you’re stuck in a traffic jam heading home. In his book “Ciphers”, German-born photographer Christoph Gielen helps us grasp the impact our households have on the landscape with his aerial shots of suburbia’s unusual shapes.

Metro catches up with Gielen to learn about his interest in aerial photography and his book, “Ciphers.”

Metro: What inspired you to do this project?

Gielen: I have always been fascinated by sustainable planning, urban sprawl, and its ecological impact. But let’s face it: it can be a very boring, bland topic. So I wanted to do something that would be compelling and grab people’s attention. Back in 2003, I was doing some aerial photography of controlled implosions in Scotland when I got the idea for the urban sprawl project – to photograph different suburbian developments across the U.S. – from Nevada to Florida – from a helicopter.

What did you see up there?

The most unusual patterns imaginable. I could make out different floral shapes and designs that resembled a spider’s web. But what I captured are places that are completely unsustainable.

So, you’re pointing to some social message?

Yes, I want to trigger a discussion. We are all worried about the environment and climate change, and I wanted to place this concept of car-centric urban sprawl at the heart of the debate. I want to awaken in people a desire for an ecological symbiosis between nature and the human-built world.

I think these photographs provoke the idea of hidden writing, secret codes and encoded messages. These patterns are forms that we need to decipher. They look like something organic, something seen under a microscope, something that needs to be analyzed.

Your book is named “Ciphers”. Why so?

I think these photographs provoke the idea of hidden writing, secret codes and encoded messages. These patterns are forms that we need to decipher. They look like something organic, something seen under a microscope, something that needs to be analyzed.

They have the look of concrete crop circles.

It’s very ironic that many of these patterns are floral or organic-looking, but there is very little sustainable or environmental about these developments.

To learn more about Gielen’s work visit his site at www.christophgielen.com and follow him on Twitter.




News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…