Noorderlicht - Chapter 1: Astonished


In addition to the Noorderlicht portfolio in GUP#30, The Metropolitan Issue, we bring you six chapters introducing six photographers as well as the six featured themes for upcoming Noorderlicht Photofestival in Groningen, The Netherlands. Today chapter 1: Astonished.

The main exhibition of the Noorderlicht Photofestival 2011, METROPOLIS, City Life in the Urban Age, deals with the role of the city as the nerve centre of modern global society running the gamut from utopia to dystopia. It is the second part of a diptych, a follow-up to the 2010 theme LAND, Country Life in the Urban Age, which looked at the shrinking role of the countryside worldwide.

The city, as a phenomenon, has an almost schizophrenic character; its many personalities are constantly encountering one another. METROPOLIS is a journey in six chapters, which tell the thrilling, shocking, beautiful and overwhelming tale of City Life in the Urban Age.

Chapter 1: Astonished

The appeal of the city is irresistible: all the people who made up the city before you, the buildings that stand there today, often old and steeped in memories, meaning and history, and those which once stood, but have been torn down to make way for new structures. The city is a person, a star to be gazed at until you are nearly blinded by the extravagance. Make a photo of it, frame it and select it. Let it remind you...

The featured photo is made by Brad Farwell in 2009 and is titled Rapture (Pantheon). Brad Farwell (1975, U.S.) portrayed some of the millions of camera-wielding tourists that descend on Rome each year, confronting monumental works of art and architecture, their images part of a continuum of photographic records of the city extending back to be dawn of the medium. The experience of the tourist mirrors the nature of the photograph; a momentary displacement of space and time, a simplification of one¹s surroundings, and a functional isolation from the people and things you are ostensibly trying to connect with.

Also read chapter 2: Astray, chapter 3: Home, and chapter 4: Deficient.