As our environment is rapidly changing, particularly as a consequence of human development, artists are finding new approaches to try and document the harm done. Attila Floszmann’s beautiful and eerie photographs portray some of the worst landscapes the artist came across when creating his series ‘Unknown Landscapes’. The photographers aim was to communicate the effects of industrialisation through aesthetic qualities, rather than the direct nature of a photograph. This led him to use Google Earth, scouring the face of the planet from his studio – a tool that is available to anyone to use themselves. The resulting images have completely abstracted the landscape, and although the human presence has disappeared, the marks we have made on the landscape are emphasised through the colours, textures and lines.
Using aesthetics as a means to document the process of destruction, Floszmann hopes to draw people into the work. Talking about his method, he says: “My intent was to show this sort of destruction with visuals that are characteristic mainly of fine art works. I wanted to avoid the unambiguous and sometimes excessive mirroring of reality, that photography (often) uses. I wish to provoke some perplexity in the viewers head with the mental effects of the paradox lying between devastation and aesthetics. Perplexity in turn compels us to think.” The aerial views allow us the look down on the landscapes that we have created, a view we are not accustomed to. And whilst the images themselves are beautiful, there is something very unnatural and eerie about the landscapes that they portray. The juxtaposition between beauty and destruction forces one to consider what it is we are looking at – Floszmann himself refers to it as the ‘destruction-aesthetics’ paradox.
Floszmann says that the landscapes he finds are a cry for help from Earth. The human population is very much complicit in creating these abstract landscapes, as the planet responds to our ever damaging presence.
“The Earth reacts to our activities with quite grotesque images, just look at the absurd landscapes and weird figures they feature.”
Attila Floszmann was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982. He is a self-taught photographer who is now based in Berlin, Germany. He has been working as a freelancer since 2009, when he started experimenting with different analogue techniques. Floszmann usually works on long-term projects, especially in war zones, such as Libya, Egypt, or Ukraine.
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