If Picasso Were A Photographer

If Picasso Were A Photographer

In today's world of hyper-exposure to media and art, it is a rare occurrence when a piece just grabs you by the heartstrings. Day in and day out you see another reiteration of the same old concept. But every once in a while, there's that moment when you come across another photographer’s work that leaves you in awe of their talent and unique vision. It's the kind of work that inspires you, and also makes you a bit jealous for not coming up with it yourself.

The latest series ‘Roof Tops’ from photographer Michael Wolf does exactly that. His unique images of the city of Paris are so refreshingly pure, they could be mistaken for 19th century paintings. There’s something very poetic in the abstract patterns that comprise the images, very reminiscent of a Cubist painting. “I had some Fernand Léger paintings of cities in the back of my mind, and Mondrian’s as well.”

From Michael Wolf's Roof Tops Series

I found myself staring at Wolf’s images for quite a while. The simplicity of the abstract pulls you in. and the muted color palate is very intentional. “I prefer muted colors, so I shoot only on overcast days.”

It is an invitation to a view of Paris you most likely never got to see on that romantic trip. A side of Paris that only an insider can discover. “I live in Paris part of the year and had the opportunity to go out on a top floor balcony of a friend’s apartment and was fascinated by the patterns of the chimneys. It was a perspective one rarely sees Paris from. I decided to pursue the idea, and worked with a researcher and some friends to find locations.  Church spires are great locations, as every arrondissement has at least two or three.”

From Michael Wolf's Roof Tops Series

From Michael Wolf's Roof Tops Series

From Michael Wolf's Roof Tops Series

It's the kind of photography you want to have hanging on your walls, to make your friends jealous for your taste in art. The kind of photography that makes it to museum exhibitions, and thus future text books for the next generation of photographers to learn from.

As an architectural photographer myself, I know about the importance of the point of view, basically, where you stand is super important in order to achieve the look and mood you are going for, quite often not considering personal comfort. “All images were shot from rooftops, or from chimney ledges.”

Michael Wolf on the roof tops of Paris

From Michael Wolf's Roof Tops Series

I am eagerly looking foreword to see what Michael Wolf comes up with next. I'll be waiting.


Michael’s ‘Paris Abstract’ series is currently showcased at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Fransisco.

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Images are posted with Artist's permission. 


Limor Garfinkle's picture

Limor Garfinkle lives and works in NYC as an art director and the in-house photographer for the ad agency SMA. Started out in the field just three short years ago as a wedding photojournalist, and soon after switched to architectural photography, shooting interiors for commercial spaces such as Spotify, Amex, Warner Music Group, Clear Channel, etc.

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I'm very much inspired by cubism and enjoy Michael's work, but Picasso?!?

maybe it means that taking photos of roofs and calling it art is the same as drawing distorted stuff and calling it art (/sarcasm)

Some years ago I visited the then traveling exhibition of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso's work from childhood and early youth and since I have been a huge admirer of both these artists for a long time it was a fantastic experience to see this work and to see the talent of those artist beginning at such an early age and seeing that these artists truly had an almost magical talent from their childhood. I am not a follower of the idea of being born with a talent but in their case I had to question that belief and therefore I have also an issue to compare this man with Picasso. Not because I am putting Picasso on a pedestal but because Picasso during he's entire life created amazing work and with such an immense consistency created most inspiring work with a variety no other artist has managed.
Therefore I think a name like Picasso should be treated carefully when used as a likeness for showing an idea that in itself is strong but I would not put it fully there as a comprising to Picasso.
Its good and yes its wonderful when an artist shows you something that is under your nose all the time but you still have not seen it until he/she shows it to you. But that is what art should do.
But be careful with the superlatives.

Nice article Limor. Everyone else... Relax. I doubt Picasso minds.

I'm not offended, but name dropping should be called out. It'll save the author an embarrassing moment IRL, if someone were to ask how she connects the two. At least on the internets, everything is made up and the points don't matter ;)

Thanks for the kind words Matthew!

More proof that the master was right: "A good photograph is knowing where to stand." - Ansel Adams

A funny thing is that Picasso actually dabbled in photography.

"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn"
Pablo Picasso

I'm gonna really stir up some crap and say I like these photos better than Picasso's paintings. ;)