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Photographer Shoots The “Wrong Way” At Famous Landmarks For A New Perspective

July 4th 2016 7:50 AM

How many images have you seen of the Eiffel Tower? The Statue of Liberty? Yellowstone National Park? The Great Wall of China? The Colosseum? Each of these historical landmarks have been visited and photographed a bazillion times. Don’t believe me? Do a Flickr search and type in any landmark and scroll through the pages and pages of photographs – good and bad.

But if you take a look at British photographer Oliver Curtis’ images of these famous landmarks, you may not recognize what you’re looking at. Curtis looks at a famous landmark and turns the “wrong way” to shoot it from the opposite direction, giving viewers a completely new perspective and one many tourists probably never even notice.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

The series, Volte-Face, began in 2012 when Curtis was visiting the Pyramids of Giza, he walked the base of the tomb and looked back, facing the “wrong way.” He tells Creative Boom, “Then, in the mid- distance I saw a newly constructed golf course, its fairways an intense green under the late morning sun. I found this visual sandwich of contrasting colour, texture, and form intriguing not simply for the photograph it made but also because of the oddness of my position; standing at one of the great wonders of the world facing the ‘wrong’ way.

For the last four years, Curtis has visited numerous famous landmarks and has turned the tables on the traditional landmark photograph. His images gives us an oft overlooked view of the throngs of tourists with selfie sticks, debris, and sometimes completely unremarkable landscapes and backgrounds. It’s definitely a new way of seeing things.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janiero

Pyramid of the Sun

Pyramid of the Sun

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

[REWIND: THREE TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING LANDMARKS FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE]

You can see Oliver Curtis’ series of images at an exhibition at Royal Geographical Society in the Fall (from September 19th –  October 14th 2016. See more of Oliver’s work and projects on his website here.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

The Vatican

The Vatican

[Via Bored Panda]

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Comments [7]

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  1. Ariella Carver

    I appreciate the desire to highlight less appreciated facets of well-known landmarks, but most of these just don’t work for me. While a couple are interesting photos in their own right, without context they mostly come off as mere snapshots missing any real interest or subject. Go through any tourist’s camera and you can probably find similar photos.

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  2. Daniel Thullen

    For the most part, I’m with the other commenters. I’m not sure what the point is. I understand these landmarks have been shot a bazillion times. I’m just not sure there is any real interest there. The only shot that I lingered on for any time was the shot facing away from the Mona Lisa. I guess I was curious as to what would be hung opposite the Mona Lisa. The picture of St. Peters made me think, hmmm, this is the perspective the Pope sees. That is about it.

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  3. Frank Villafane

    Hmmm…some random thoughts on this new perspective:

    When I was starting out in photography, I took many mediocre images (don’t we all?) and I stored them away, capturing these errors to be used as a “learning” tool. Who would have thought that I was then on to a wholly new means of expression? I’ve taken two prime examples out of the vault and blown the dust off of them and submit them for your enjoyment.

    First, an amazing view of Manhattan from Exchange Plaza, in Jersey City:

    What’s the matter, don’t you recognize the famous city? Well, yes, I did turn around to capture a different view, and in the process, well, I shot Jersey City. But it’s still a unique perspective of this view of Manhattan, no?

    Next, The Lincoln Memorial:

    What, it doesn’t look like the Lincoln Memorial? Well, actually the image was taken from the top of the Memorial steps and I turned around to capture a completely unique perspective of this amazing monument.

    I believe by now the reader gets the point: images of famous landmarks should include the landmark, or at least a portion of said landmark. Otherwise, who’s to say that any random image of virtually anything could be labeled as such?

    With all due respect to Mr. Curtis…his images are indeed unique, and no doubt he is a competent photographer…but I for one do not consider this a new perspective of landmark photography.

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    • Hagos Rush

      I am inclined to agree with you. “New” or “perspective” are not the words I would use either.

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  4. Ralph Hightower

    Stonehenge is one of those on my bucket list. After checking off a 30 year bucket list item on July 8, 2011, I had to add other items.
    But I won’t turn my back on the landmarks and I doubt that he didn’t sneak a photo either.

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  5. Paul Wynn

    Generally I don’t see the point. Surely if you are capturing an image of a famous landmark, it will be your photo and your memories. I do understand that finding a new presepective to view a landmark or highlight a particular aspect would make sense.

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  6. Andru Tănase

    just superb :)

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