All photos by Kris Provoost. Used with Creative Commons permission.
With man’s relationship with the city being complex and multi-faceted, it’s no surprise we’ve been constantly making our own explorations of this connection through photo essays. Street photography is one popular way to do this, architectural photography is another. In his photo essay, aptly titled HUMAN vs CITY: CHONGQING, Shanghai/Hong Kong-based Belgian photographer and architect Kris Provoost combine both disciplines for his portrayal of humanity in the metropolis.
In his series description, Provoost shared that he spent three days exploring the city of Chongqing in southwest China to put together this series. He was guided by certain keywords: density, humanity, and transportation. The result, he said, is a collection of 20 photos that show how people move around the city, the intense density that is necessary to keep a city running, the blending of the past and the future, and how people deal with the insanity of it all.
“CHONGQING, a city of contrasts. While this is said about a lot of Chinese cities, Chongqing brings this description to another level. Chongqing is the most populated city proper, according to Wikipedia. With more than 30,000 000 people in its streets, the city tends to feel dense at times. This feeling becomes most apparent when viewed from a distance. The streets and buildings of Chongqing offer surreal vantage points that leave you breathless.”
HUMAN vs CITY: CHONGQING shows Provoost’s eye for architectural details, obviously brought forth by his experience and know-how as an architect. However, unlike his usual approach to straightforward architectural photography, this series also presents an interesting take on the human element. By choosing to make humans smaller against the immensity of the metropolis, it begs the question, “Which is ‘bigger’ — humans, or the cities they built and call home?”