Invisible Cities


Phones ringing and buzzing, cars passing, someone talking or yelling, the noise of mostly useless news, violence against which I cannot do anything. I am surrounded by more and more chaos. For me the worst noises are the visible ones: electric poles, selling carts, dumpsters in front of historical buildings, horrible buildings next or even in front of monuments.

As a photographer, I have trained myself to ignore these bothersome noises. When I look for the right spot to take a picture, I don’t see the disturbing reality generated by the frantic world of overcrowded cities.

I automatically cancel whatever disturbs me and I “silence the world”, so to be able to see and feel a monument as it is, or as it was centuries ago.

First of all this silence puts me in a state of bliss and then it allows me to appreciate small things, details such as the ravages of time on a particular monument. I feel the immensity of a contemporary or historical monument, as the expression of power of whoever built it.

To me, silence is the relief in which I enjoy the present as a photographer, as well as it is a working tool. When I “silence” this noisy world, I am able to feel what surrounds me, and new truths arise. All of a sudden I dispose of time and vision.

I communicate the essence of what I see and photograph. I don’t describe it with words as I would risk to destroy the atmosphere, I wouldn’t be able to share the wonderful experience I felt. To me the essence of a monument can’t be said, it has to be felt and shown.

“To silence” the world does not mean to turn my back on reality, the contrary is the case: I see the world more clearly, I keep in balance and try to love whatever surrounds me.

Since 2017 I have been printing the images I create with digital technology using a technique invented in 1831: the Platinum Palladium process. It is a contemporary research done by retrieving the sophistication of the past

Irene Kung