A closer look at ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­pher Fran­cisco Marin’s lat­est works

HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT THE WORLD UP­SIDE DOWN? Maybe as a kid you hung your head over the side of the sofa. Maybe you’re flex­i­ble enough to­day to bend over and look through your legs, thanks to those yoga classes. Ei­ther way, once you’re up­side down you see a whole new world. What was so fa­mil­iar is now sur­pris­ingly sur­real, just with a sim­ple change of per­spec­tive.

Up­side down is just one of the an­gles ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­pher Fran­cisco Marin chose in his lat­est se­ries of images. He got close, pointed his lens at a cer­tain part of a struc­ture and fo­cused in — bring­ing out new forms and ex­pe­ri­ences. Marin’s pho­tos can be ap­proached from any an­gle, cre­at­ing new ab­stract de­signs while toy­ing with your sense of ori­en­ta­tion and fa­mil­iar­ity. Hav­ing trained as an ar­chi­tect in his na­tive Mex­ico, Marin un­der­stands how de­sign is sup­posed to work from the usual an­gles. And that’s pre­cisely what pushed him to go fur­ther.

“Pieces of ar­chi­tec­ture of­fer me the chal­lenge of find­ing dif­fer­ent ways to ap­pre­ci­ate it,” says Marin. “Not ev­ery­thing needs to be at eye level and look­ing in the same di­rec­tion. I try to find ways to look at the ge­om­e­try and the or­ganic parts of ar­chi­tec­ture and bring those out in new ways that peo­ple don’t usu­ally see, not even the ar­chi­tect.”

A change in per­spec­tive can be fun and mag­i­cal to cre­ate and en­joy, but why bother? Why should any­one take the time or ex­pend the men­tal en­ergy to pro­duce and con­front a new point of view? Life is busy. There are many trou­bles in the world. And some­times it’s just enough to get through the day.

For some, a sense of joy and play might be a good enough an­swer. Af­ter all, with any luck, life should be en­joyed. But en­gag­ing in a change of per­spec­tive is so much more im­por­tant than that. It is crit­i­cal to our fu­ture.

Har­vard psy­chol­o­gist Steven Pinker has ar­gued that, by many mea­sures, hu­man life now is bet­ter than at any time in hu­man his­tory. As a species, we are liv­ing longer, lead­ing health­ier lives, eat­ing bet­ter and are safer than ever be­fore. This is true, on the whole. But those facts don’t cap­ture any given per­son’s sta­tion in life. Many peo­ple strug­gle every day. Also, one can see in the daily head­lines that changes in the world or­der are hap­pen­ing, and maybe not all for the good. So­ci­eties, al­ways cursed with di­vi­sions, seem to be frac­tur­ing in many parts of the world. That could end poorly for every­one.

One way to counter some of these dif­fi­cul­ties is per­spec­tive. Ul­ti­mately, all of us can only view the ex­pan­sive­ness of life through a nar­row straw — through one nar­row point of view. But maybe once in a while, we can set try to set the straw down, look up and around, and ap­pre­ci­ate more of what is be­fore us. If we all can find ways to take in an­other’s world­view, some un­der­stand­ing and em­pa­thy could emerge.

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