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Reflections on an urban menace

reflections-on-an-urban-menace

In the contemporary world of  gigantic conurbations with their mastodontic architecture, the horizon has become a lost element and the sky is being steadily invaded.

Instead of constructions conceived as a means to facilitate community living, the massiveness of much modern architecture contributes to the isolation of the individual, in particular by having hidden his horizon and eaten his sky, thus depriving him of vital reference points and  traditional perspectives. As a consequence, he feels increasingly insignificant, channeled and crushed in an environment where he no longer counts.

Any resistance to this process appears to be condemned to failure in the face of the scale of the general unthinking rush to modernity and profit. 

With so many  horizons already lost, buildings, with their striking and seductive architectural lines, often reach for the sky to stab and hide it, absorbing the clouds which may eventually be seen only through  distorted reflections in the glass of buildings. Even the very details of and within architectural structures contribute to this process by becoming a form of visual aggression in their own right.

Man is steadily being reduced to a caged and quasi troglodytic existence, condemned to move ant-like, almost invisible, within and between the constructions he has built and the constant demolitions. It is becoming evermore difficult to make him out and often the only sign that he is there at all are lights which can sometimes be seen through the glass of high rise constructions.

There is a very real danger that all that will remain for urban man in the future will be to sit and contemplate what remains of  his world, trying to visualise the horizon and the sky which are no longer there, nostalgic for the life he once had.

But in that case he would no longer have a past to return to. It would be gone, demolished, with even the ruins of what was once his home deprived of both horizon and sky. 

City dwellers, naturally preoccupied with the practicalities of their daily lives pass, unseeing, through and around and often work inside the constructions which are conditioning their world and its future for their children. One of the duties of photography must be to focus on this aspect of the human condition and to illustrate for all to see the potential danger of this urban menace.

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017