These Mesmerizing Photos Show How Urban Sprawl Is Devouring Our Planet
Growing up in post-war Germany, photographer Christoph Gielen was "repulsed" by the rows of drab, identical, pre-fabricated buildings that were constructed quickly to rebuild cities lost to Allied bombings. When he left art school in his twenties, he took on a photographic mission to document the way buildings and development misuse land.
He headed to the United States, where he encountered the most extreme examples of suburban development. Heading out with a helicopter pilot, Gielen began photographing communities from above to show how our car-centric development has altered the face of the planet.
"We are leaving a huge footprint on the environment," says Gielen. "Sustainability is something that we need to address now."
Gielen shared some of the photos from the project with us here, but you can check out the rest in his new book Ciphers.
For Gielen's first attempt at aerial photography, he flew with an LAPD pilot in a training helicopter. With the doors off, Gielen hung outside the helicopter to catch these photos of California's famous freeway interchanges.
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