To Baltimore-based photographer Ben Marcin, cities are hyper-functional places, built to support the crowds of people that pour into them every day.
“The city is meant to be efficient,” he tells Tech Insider. “The shortest path from A to B, that’s what a footpath is. Parking garages — let’s stack these cars up 10 floors. But if you focus in on these structures in a certain way, they’re also unintentionally beautiful.”
In Marcin's 'Tower' series, he shot skyscrapers, leaving out their tops and bottom, and removed the sky behind them.
These towers are 'architecturally beautiful,' he says, but also 'scary' in the way they're isolated from the rest of the world.
'I want you to have the impression that there's a thousand people in this thing,' he says, 'and they're all ants in the hive.'
Taking out the sky was a deliberate choice, as was the dead-center composition -- it makes for a very formal photo, he says.
'The lines are straight, and you see an abstract collection of patterns and grids, basically,' he says. 'The honeycomb of windows, steel, and all that.'
The result, he says, is something like a Mark Rothko painting: abstract, meditative, and foreboding.
The 'Urban Grids' series, featuring places like parking garages and warehouses, feels more hopeful than the isolated skyscrapers.
'But they have these weird little designs where if you crop in on them in a certain way, you see something interesting,' he says.
Marcin's 'Street Photography' series examines one of the most overlooked parts of urban life: the footpaths and streets we walk on every day.
Discarded gum might be disgusting, but if you arrange a bunch of those black splotches together, the patterns become compelling.
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