“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” — Julia Morgan. Those words by the revolutionary architect and engineer best sums up this ongoing series by Serbian photographer Nikola Olic, who describes his style as “abstract structural poetic photography” and ironically began shooting thanks partly due to another renowned architect.
“On the Brooklyn Bridge in 2013, an unusual Frank Gehry building reminded me of the wonderful words of Ansel Adams, insisting that we bring to the act of photography all the pictures we have seen, books we have read, music we have heard, and people we have loved. And with my photography, I hope to add some poetry as well,” he said.
Collectively, Olic’s “Abstract Structural Photography” is the embodiment of a cityscape that is both recognizable, with sites such as The Washington Monument and National Museum of African American History and Culture (“Gloomy, jagged, politics”), and outer worldly, where the hard edges, curves and bold geometric shapes of towering facades take center stage. When asked about his inspiration for Abstract Structural: “The unpredictable, rewarding, and multidimensional joy of combining photography, travel, architecture, art and poetry into a single coherent body of work, consisting of a small number of carefully curated photographs,” Olic told In Sight.
For many of us, these buildings we occupy to work daily nine to fives or perhaps visit to admire art that fills them are nothing out of the ordinary. But Olic miraculously sees more than the obvious and has an admirable ability to pinpoint intricacies in the framework that shelters the aforementioned. Somewhat like a puzzle, he rearranges parts and transforms them into complex (yet cohesive) eye-candy. “I make small adjustments to contrast, brightness and colors — usually toward a milder spectrum — and toward allowing breathing room for the composition to carry the photograph. I also micro-adjust the cropping, to further balance the composition,” Olic said.
The playful contours and colors of Abstract Structural overall is an optical delight, but the inescapable gloom of the virus certainly had an effect in its process: “The pandemic of course changed the rhythm of life and photography over the last year. I photographed differently but I still continued to photograph. The challenge became an opportunity. Fewer people and fewer cars offered more freedom and opportunities to explore and understand spaces. For some of my photographs I had to lay in the middle of the street or climb on narrow ledges or handrails. That was much easier with no people or cars or security guards around.”
When asked what he hopes people will gain from his images, “Photography is in my view an introspective experience for both the photographer and the viewer, I am comfortable leaving the expectations and hopes of what people gain up to them.”
You can see more of Olic’s work on his website and currently on display at The Museum of Geometric Art in Dallas, as part of a three-person show through July 25.
In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff members and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.
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