Enveloped in sheets of blue, inexperienced and yellow, the towers in Peter Steinhauer’s pictures possess an nearly sculptural high quality. These momentary facades could serve a sensible objective, however their vibrant colours and geometric surfaces produce a mesmerizing distinction with the encircling skyline.
The sight of buildings draped in vivid nylon mesh is a typical one in Hong Kong. Development firms use the material to maintain particles from falling to the bottom. Staff additionally proceed to make use of bamboo scaffolding, which serves as a body for the colourful wraps.
An in depth-up shot reveals the nylon sheets supported by bamboo scaffolding. Credit score: Peter Steinhauer
American photographer Peter Steinhauer has been documenting these development websites for greater than 20 years. He refers to them as “cocoons,” alluding to the metamorphosis that buildings endure whereas enclosed.
Steinhauer’s assorted compositions supply a brand new perspective on one of many world’s most photogenic cities — atmospheric nighttime pictures, huge photographs of the city context and close-ups exhibiting the nylon sheets rippling within the wind.
“I wish to get in shut and discover the graphic components, he stated in a telephone interview. “If you happen to take a look at the bamboo because it’s going up, there is a sample and design to it. So there are all kinds of design components and shade schemes that every one interaction with each other.”
Steinhauer ofter shoots at evening to provide his pictures what he known as a “sci-fi feeling.” Credit score: Peter Steinhauer
Steinhauer stated his fascination with the phenomenon occurred “instantaneously” upon first touchdown in Hong Kong in 1994.
“I used to be stood in a taxi queue (on the airport) simply looking at this factor,” he recalled of seeing a tower block encased in yellow sheets.
“It was the tip of the day, and the sunshine was hitting it at this nice angle. It is all the time model new materials, so there have been these vibrant, stunning colours. It was simply beautiful, and I believed it was like an enormous murals.”
Nearly 13 years after taking his first batch of images, Steinhauer returned to Hong Kong full-time and resumed his venture. Having initially photographed in black and white, he determined to modify format with a view to seize the topics’ vivid coloration.
“I all the time gravitated towards the colour,” he stated. “Hong Kong generally is a very monochromatic metropolis. The humidity and air pollution actually wears the paint down and mutes every thing. However whenever you put up this large blue, inexperienced or white factor in the course of all of it, it simply pops out — it jumps off the web page.”
Preserving Hong Kong’s previous within the miniature
Irrespective of how engaging they seem from afar, the material facades cover a unclean, dusty actuality. Steinhauer is aware of this solely too nicely, having himself been “cocooned” when his condo constructing underwent renovation.
“I hated it,” he admitted. “There was jackhammering, and the children had been crying the entire time — we weren’t getting any sleep. We had inexperienced materials round our home windows and, as a result of we often had solar coming in by way of the home windows, this inexperienced gentle was permeating our lounge and bed room in any respect hours of the day.
“There are just a few of my images the place I truly present what’s occurring at floor degree — as a result of it is a mess. It is a development website.”
A picture captured by Steinhauer simply after a thunderstorm. Credit score: Peter Steinhauer
Nonetheless, he retains a way of marvel at a observe that, he stated, is documented in images of Hong Kong stretching again greater than 150 years.
“It is a true artwork type to me — one that’s actually solely practiced in Hong Kong, on this scale particularly,” he stated. “It is a outstanding course of.”