"Stacked" Photo Series Captures Hong Kong's Vertical Sprawl

Peter Stewart's architectural images of Hong Kong will make you feel small.

Perth-born photographer Peter Stewart sees architectural photography from a different angle. Primarily shooting at night using a Canon 5D MKII equipped with a 14mm lens, the shutterbug captures long exposure photographs of buildings from the ground-up. For his latest photo series, Hong Kong Stacked, Stewart took to the streets to document the enormity of the urban structures the coastal city is known for. Explains Stewart, "Hong Kong in particular is a concrete jungle, filled with seemingly hundreds of skyscrapers that make for an obvious subject for vertical photographs." The result is a series of stunning shots as colorful and ornate as they are enormous and monolithic.

To capture "the buildings we would pass without even giving a second glance," Stewart searches cities both on Google Maps and at the street-level. "Shooting this type of photography is a lot easier than you might think," he suggests. "All it takes really is a keen eye for finding the beauty in the monotonous; the everyday structures that we often fail to appreciate." He advises that his particular style of photography is "easier at night when there is less foot traffic around and you can easily sneak into areas like stairwells or alleyways between buildings without anyone taking notice." 

But while Stewart claims that "There has only been one occasion," where he was "stopped and threatened with arrest," his story should serve as a cautionary tale for aspiring architectural photographers:

I was trying to get onto the roof of a particular hotel in Tokyo, Japan for a viewpoint over the busy streets below. I had made it to the top floor with ease, however in my haste I set off an audible alarm going though the final fire escape door to access the roof. I panicked and headed straight for the elevator to get back to the ground floor. By the time I got out at the lobby, hotel security and 2 cops were very interested to know why a sweaty, badly dressed westerner carrying a large backpack and tripod was interested in gaining access to their roof. Took a little bit of explaining but they let me go and I vowed never to try anything stupid like that again. 

Above all, Stewart seeks to "overwhelm the viewer" with both "chaotic, busy scenes," and "images that are simple and lead your eyes through the frame with ease." But while Stewart may pack a smorgasbord of content into his captures, for those of us who fashion facades, Hong Kong Stacked is an architectural feast for the senses. 

Visit Peter Stewart on Twitter and Flickr for more architectural awesomeness, and check out his blog for tips & tricks on getting the most out of your photographic adventures. 


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