Though we exist in three dimensions, we spend an inordinate amount of time looking at and into two-dimensional screens. There is an illusion of space and dimension within these frames, and yet there are entire worlds within them. The 19th century English theologian and schoolmaster Edwin Abbott imagined a rich two-dimensional world in his 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It’s from this book that Turkish photographer Aydın Büyüktaş takes inspiration for his warped drone photography series Flatland, in which he distorts landscapes in impossible ways while making pedestrians and cars look as if they’re living in M.C. Escher drawings.
To create the series, Büyüktaş created a 3D simulation of Istanbul to find his camera positions. He then deployed a drone to capture various parts of the city.
“Waiting for the right weather was challenging,” Büyüktaş tells The Creators Project. “So many times I had to turn back without a photos because of bad weather, technical problems, birds that attack the drone and flight permission problems.”
Büyüktaş first experimented with collaging the drone photos by hand, but turned to Adobe Photoshop when he didn’t get the results he wanted. With this software, he was able to collage the drone photographs so that landscapes and structures bend and warp in ways that recall Christopher Nolan’s film Inception. But Büyüktaş gives more inspiration credit to Michio Kaku’s book Hyperspace, which he read in 2006, for introducing him to Abbot’s Flatland.
“I was very impressed by the book [for illustrating] the difficulties in comprehending the way of interconnecting dimensions and the inter-dimensional transition,” Büyüktaş says. “The fact that the book tried to [explain] inter-dimensional transition and the third dimension with the second dimension corresponded to my inquiry about the third dimension.”
Just as the character “A Square”, a resident of Flatland’s two-dimensional realm, meets the character “Sphere” and sees three-dimensional space for the first time, Büyüktaş wondered about “bending space” in an image. For him, this logic became a way of seeing Istanbul anew, which is on full display in the Flatland series.
Click here to see more of Aydın Büyüktaş’s work.