The shape of the city

Sometimes, bigger really is better – as Japanese photographer Sohei Nishino’s new show Diorama Maps proves.

His incredible black and white photographic collages are both magnificent in scale and in detail, depicting the world’s major cities from an entirely new and strange perspective.

Sohei Nishino creating the maps
Sohei Nishino creating the maps

The show, which will take place at London’s Michael Hoppen Contemporary Gallery next year, will present the Diorama Map series for the first time in Europe, showcasing Nishino’s stunning map of London for the first time.

The artist painstakingly creates these monumental works by hand, crafted from a highly personal take on the city.

Nishino's map of Hong Kong
Nishino’s map of Hong Kong

This, by all accounts is no easy task. In creating his city of London, the artist spent over a month walking the city on foot, photographing everything that caught his eye.

This involved taking photos from building tops, and even shooting in step with the Queen’s Guard marching on the Mall.

Nishino’s perambulation culminated in 300 rolls of black and white film and over 10,000 pictures, which were then whittled down to a mere 4,000.  These were then painstakingly pieced together Blue Peter-style with scissors and sticky glue.  A lesson in patience if ever there was one.

Nishino's map of Paris
Nishino’s map of Paris

Having completed this enormous collaged aerial view of London from his Tokyo studio, he then reshot the image to create the final photograph.

The Diorama Map series to date consists of ten cities: Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and London. Istanbul is currently being completed to premiere at the exhibition, and Rio de Janeiro will be next in Nishino’s series, to be shot during Carnival in March 2011. After shooting some twenty cities, the Michael Hoppen Gallery will publish a Diorama Map World Atlas in 2013.

Alongside the Diorama Maps on display, Nishino has also created two colour works using the same process, ‘I-LAND’ and ‘Night’, which are collages from images taken in multiple Japanese cities.

Nishino's map of London
Nishino’s map of London

Diorama Maps will be on at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 from 24 February – 2 April 2011

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  • Andi Rusyn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    These look absolutely amazing. As amazing as Nishino’s patience and dedication. The technique is a brilliant way to illustrate the size and sheer complexity of the big city. And what mad places they actually are. Awesome.

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