Cities Abstracted

Cities Abstracted

“Cities are actually the purest expression of who we are as human beings – the best and worst parts of us,” writes New York-based author Suketu Mehta in Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (Phaidon, 2018). “What makes a city exciting means different things to different people.” Photographer Ash Camas joined Instagram 10 years ago (@adyy_cam), setting up the account to share images of street art found across Toronto. The hobby grew rapidly, and, as Camas travelled the globe, the artist turned the lens to buildings. Shown here are the resulting images; they offer an alternative perspective on the urban environment.

Today, Camas is best known for posting architectural images online. Close-up shots of minimalist façades pop with bright reds, yellows and blues, whilst linear shapes interlock in square compositions. This approach – which focuses on abstract textures, geometric forms and primary colours – is reminiscent of De Stijl (The Style), which emerged in the early decades of the 20th century. Piet Mondrian’s (1872-1944) reductive, grid-like compositions are iconic examples of the Dutch art movement.

Camas’ shots demonstrate a keen eye for detail, and a remarkable ability to pick out the interesting and unusual from busy spaces. Circular windows, bright yellow chevrons and tessellating cladding are just a few examples. These vivid images – taken in Canada, France, Sweden and beyond – encourage us to look at cities anew: cropping, repositioning and flattening them down into two dimensions.


Image Credits: All images courtesy Ash Camas
1. Circle and Rectangles, Woodstock Canada
2. The Red Odyssey – Toronto
3. Wicked Windows – Paris, France
4. Red, Yellow And Blue – Jönköping
, Sweden
5. The Big Red and The Small Red – Creative Edit
6. Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow
7. Mellow Yellow – Toronto
8. Dance with Yellow – Waterloo, Canada – Perimetric Institute