Kaleidoscopic Cities: 10 Vortograph-Inspired Urban Images


The vortograph, invented in the early 1900s by Alvin Coburn, was arguably the first form of abstract (or “non-objective”) photography. These contemporary shots adopt similar techniques but take them to (dizzying) new heights and spin them in (uncanny) urban dimensions.

While Coburn focused mainly on abstracted portraiture, contemporary creatives like  Japanese architect and photographer Kawahara Kazuhiko  have zoomed out to take on urban settings and their vast structures.

Inspired by vortographic rotational repetitions, Kazuhiko, MC Escher and, yes, even Inception, these latter six photographs by Simon Gardiner take city streets, famous monuments, historic architecture and everyday settings of Paris, specifically, and set them on end in perspective-shifting ways.

As abstraction increases through added twists and deformations, one starts to lose the trees in the forest – architectural elements take on new lives and show off patterns that are hard to see when our brains are so used to translating them as part of a whole building.

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