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Photographer Mixes Lou Reed Lyrics With Mongolian Emptiness in this Ghostly Series

Italian photographer Alessandro Zanoni makes like a poetic ghost in his lyrical photographs of a deserted urban town.

by Diana Shi
09 January 2017, 12:35pm

All images courtesy the artist

Dense levels of construction rise within a city airspace like the abandoned white bones of a civilization. Under the visually-astute eye and editing prowess of Alessandro Zanoni, the ghostly corners of the Ordos district of inner Mongolia are captured in all their isolation as shadowy white photographs, made more aloof with linear composition and hovering text. The Milanese photographer chose a collection of Lou Reed lyrics from the 2003 concept album, The Raven, with the haunting track, Vanishing Act, providing the material for each photograph.

Zanoni shares, in the project’s description, that he spent six weeks in the developed yet sparsely populated district. He says, “I lived—completely alone—in a 28-floor building. It was a voluntary detachment from the rest of the world. In the early morning, I was used to drinking coffee on the rooftop and one day a bright mist surrounded me while I was listening to Vanishing Act.”

The artist describes himself as a “tireless metropolitan traveler" whose work is focused on finding unusual and urban wastelands. Living within a self-imposed solitude, enacted as part of Zanoni’s mission to explore the urbanization-versus-population anomaly of Ordos, the photographer found a heightened enlightement with the lonesome-tinged narrative of The Raven

Now, if only we could all stand on an empty Mongolian rooftop and let Lou's poetry wash over us. 

Visit Alessandro Zanoni’s Behance page to see more of his poetic, negative-space photography; find it here.


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Lou Reed
minimalist art
Alessandro Zanoni
Vanishing Act