Facing the other way is normally taken as a negative concept, meaning to remain ignorant or avoid a problem; but British photographer, Oliver Curtis had something else in mind. His first solo exhibition Volte-Face (September 2016) held in the Pavilion Gallery at the Royal Geographical Society in London, caught the public’s eye not because of what he had managed to photograph but rather, what he had not.
Oliver Curtis travelled the world, with his camera. He visited all the “right” tourist attractions; the most frequently visited places in the world, from the USA, to Europe, to India. But what he photographed was something a little out of the ordinary. Inspired by his trip to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt back in 2012 where a newly build golf course caught his eye amidst the dry dunes surrounding the iconic pyramids, rather than facing the well known and generically photographed monuments or landmarks, Curtis decided to face the wrong way – creating a series of photographs showing the worlds’ most frequently visited tourist locations, from a completely ignored perspective.
For us, this is how the Taj Mahal looks –
And this is the perspective that Oliver Curtis gave:
When it comes to photography, there may be guidelines telling you what’s right or wrong in terms of technical issues such as lighting and over post processing. But really, photography is a blend of both art and science, and what is art? Art stands for the freedom to creatively express without boundaries. Well, let’s go ahead the wrong way and see some of his amazing work.
Christ The Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Mona Lisa, Louvre, Paris, France
His take on the Mona Lisa:
White House, Washington D.C., USA
What he saw:
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
And what Oliver Curtis saw:
The Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK
Well, he saw:
Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, USA
What generally all of us would not click is what Oliver Curtis clicked!
Statue of Liberty, New York, USA
Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Egypt
Oliver Curtis clicked:
St. Marks’s Square, Venice, Italy
His version of St. Marks’s Square, Venice, Italy
Mao Mausoleum, Beijing, China
What he clicked:
Lenin’s Tomb, Moscow, Russia
What he captured:
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., USA
Well, he clicked:
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
So, there is no right and wrong when it comes to photography. Every photographer, whether through profession or passion, has or will develop a personal style. Oliver Curtis decided to take a new perspective on generic tourist photography and grabbed attention worldwide through his series. Your passion should not follow footsteps, your passion should make your own!
You can follow Oliver Curtis here
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