Art of Urban Landscape Photography

by davestone13

Urban landscape photography shows us our cities through different eyes. Add art, and you have the unforgettable urban landscapes of Deborah Julian.

Converging forces and passions have reinvented photography over its short two-hundred year lifespan.

It's one of our youngest and most vital art forms. Still being sculpted by artists as well as technicians, photography now instigates as much as it reflects how the world is seen.

Concentrating here on the convergence of urban landscape photography and fine art, let's look at how one artist has staked out her position.

Flooding Urban Landscape Photography With Art

Changing How We See Cities

Near the turn of the Twentieth Century, Eugene Atget invented urban landscape photography. It wasn't intentional. Atget made a record of Paris, the old Paris disappearing with the advance of the industrial age, from the broad boulevards to the dreary avenues of prostitution.

Atget went into business in Montmartre, supplying his images as models for painters.

Like all art styles, urban landscape photography evolved. Some artists celebrated the cities, others, like Edward Hopper, saw alienation and menace. Gradually, realism took over, and we saw pictures of cities as they are, but in a more familiar way as populations shifted away from the countryside and into the city for work and security.

Today, we have two schools in urban landscape photography. In one, photographers show the cities as contructions, lines and junctions and contrasts. In the other, as you will see here, the photographers elevate Atget's tradition by becoming the artists themselves.

Urban Landscapes, Art Of Observation

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Deborah Julian's Urban Landscape Photography

Infusing Urban Landscapes With Art

When Deborah Julian started out as a fine art photographer, she first became known by winning competitions with her pictures of flowers, architectural features and street scenes.

Later, she went beyond her training in photography, earning a degree in Art History. This sharpened her sense of art and photography as two creative forces that could be merged to the benefit of both.

In recent years, her pictures have most often been inspired by her life in New York City. But she has also brought home images from elsewhere and enhanced them to give us equally creative visions from places like Oslo and Prague.

Deborah Julian has created a success hybrid, Urban Landscape Photography that is just as much record as art. Adding a colorist's touch to her pictures, she creates images that are beautiful to look at. Often, they also have a narrative sense – something is going on – and an ironic observation point. She has a striking gift for letting us become unseen observers of the lives of others. 

Observations From The Urban Landscape

Deborah Julian On A Walk Through Of Her Solo Exhibit At The Octagon Gallery

The Future And Art In Urban Landscape Photography

Where Do We Go From Here

From the evolution of urban landscape photography, it easy to make the obvious connection and see how artistic conceptions have led to the way our cities look today.

New buildings began to take on cubist elements. Towers become less boxy, with curving external surfaces and asynchronous lines. Movements in the arts can easily be seen as inspirations for architecture, a craftsman's field often considered an art these days.

How things look has gained value against ideas about how things work. Esthetic elements are essential in everyday designs, if not dominate. We have come to see how art improves life by changing how we see things and expanding our understanding along visual pathways.

Deborah Julian's urban landscape photography can be a guide. Her painterly eye encourages us to see everyday everyday scenes, looked at differently, as visions of beauty and/or interest. Passing and Charles Bridge Early Morning are good examples. In both, she shows us a city scene that has passed through an artist's fine-tuned filter.

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Updated: 08/22/2014, davestone13
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What do you think?

davestone13 on 05/21/2013

Art can be found and captured in a lens. I like cities, so the urban landscapes are my favorites.. Thanks, Katie.

katiem2 on 05/21/2013

I'm a big fan of art and the everyday occurrences in urban areas, especially cities.

2uesday on 02/21/2012

I really like the way that of the four photographic images you have put together, three have a wonderful depth of field to them and the forth focus on a person. For me the contrast between them makes you pause to study them.

davestone13 on 11/08/2011

Thanks. San Francisco is a place of such beauty, you could spend days appreciating what people have recorded.

sheilamarie on 11/07/2011

Interesting art of the city. I love the SF photo.

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