Most of the time, the simplest, most effortless ideas beget the most complex, poignant results. Such is the case for Guido Gutierrez Ruiz’s photographic series of puddles found in urban landscapes. Canadian born and currently living in Madrid, the globe trotter quite literally just happened upon his artistic calling. He says of the project, “It all started when I was standing on the street waiting to cross when I noticed a puddle right below me with the reflection of a cloud, and I had the curiosity to see what would happen if I put my camera close to the puddle and capture its hidden parallel world.” It is with that single idea that a worldwide phenomenon was born. The 27 year old started an Instagram account documenting his puddle portraits three years ago using only his Google Nexus 5 smartphone, no photoshop and currently clocks in at over 28,000 followers. As a frequent traveler, packing light was a major priority for Ruiz— which meant leaving the hefty DSLR at home. Ever the intrepid explorer, the amateur photographer decided to make due with his phone when he wanted to take photos. He never even had the chance to start documenting his travels with anything other than his phone! His mirrored landscapes are richly textured and densely packed— with two fully realized worlds to discover, Ruiz’s viewers go on their own urban adventure with each new snapshot. The horse-drawn carriage in Seville, Spain shows not only the vibrancy of the city square, with people energizing the space, it also emphasizes the beauty of the surrounding historic architecture. With each building’s wrought iron balconies, intricate moldings and unique craftsmanship seen in double, there’s no denying the impact. In a quieter, more subdued snap, Ruiz caught a woman’s booted legs, stepping through a puddle on the street to reach the sidewalk. Published on Mother’s Day and entitled The Power of Mums, the black and white photograph is a stunning tribute to powerful women everywhere. Ruiz says he’s never studied photography but has always enjoyed taking photos. That excitement and passion comes through in his puddle photographs. A New York sidewalk in Times Square, complete with a yellow taxi, neon billboards, bicyclists and commuters, totally encapsulates the energy of the city, again, made even more apparent by the double image in the puddle. On finding inspiration for his photographs, Ruiz says “the world of tourism itself is my true inspiration, making me want to travel the world and capture it with different perspectives.” Be sure to follow Ruiz on Instagram at @guigurui to follow his travels and see his amazing snapshots of the hidden urban worlds! sources: Daily Mail
Photographer David Burdney’s project, SALT: Fields, Plottings and Extracts, features aerial images he’s taken of salterns from Utah, Mexico and Australia. The vivid flats are startlingly — and surprisingly — gorgeous, with violet, turquoise, fuchsia, magenta, cherry and white blocks blending together naturally (though they definitely look man made).
You’ve heard of doggie doors but what about dragon gates? In Hong Kong, it’s not uncommon to see structural holes cut through the middle of its towering skyscrapers to allow “the dragons” a clear path from their homes high on the hills down to the water every day. While the reason may defy the logical, it definitely embraces the mythical— a small component of the larger feng shui phenomenon. Indeed, Hong Kong architects, planners, contractors and designers factor feng shui practices and guidelines into each building they construct and room they furnish. To fail to do so means recklessly tempting fate and bringing bad fortune to your efforts. Feng shui dates back to around 4000 BC when the Yangshao and Hongshan cultures used astronomy to determine connections between humans and the universe. These astral correlations show up in many tombs and unearthed buildings from the era, proving that those ancient societies used the their cosmic findings for architectural purposes. Literally translated as “wind-water,” feng shui is a means for humans to harness the energy of the earth in a positive way. Most commonly in an urban setting, feng shui is used to orient buildings in an “energetically proper” way to its natural surroundings, whether those be hills, mountains, rivers, oceans or even the stars. Flow is another major component of feng shui (thus the dragon gates), along with the shape of the building itself, how the furniture is arranged within the building and even the positions of the entrances and exits of the building. These details are thought to directly reflect the prosperity and luck of the inhabitants and creators of the building and many architects have feng shui consultants on staff to ensure proper etiquette. For example, Foster and Partners built the the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building with best feng shui practices in mind when they constructed the tower. However, the nearby Bank of China tower built by I.M. Pei is considered a blight on the Hong Kong skyline by locals, due to its sharp points and angular shape (thought to “cut” the good fortune of nearby buildings). Because of this, many floors of the Bank of China tower remain vacant and is blamed for nearby companies going out of business. And with so much bad energy so close to the HKSB building, the designers erected cranes, aimed directly at the I.M. Pei building, on its roof to deflect the negative vibes. While the theory of feng shui has never been proven effective by science in any way, the superstition persists as strongly as ever in the modern metropolis of Hong Kong. If nothing else, it seems that the ancient practice creates beautiful buildings and aesthetically pleasant interiors! Sources: Wikipedia, 99 Percent Invisible