Urban Wanders, Urban Wonders


Urban Stories Editors’ Pick

“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” – Italo Calvino

Following Ron Haviv’s selection of winning images for our URBAN STORIES theme, this compilation of 20 images, selected by the Life Framer editors represents some of the other talented photographers whose work struck us and left a mark. Each a stunning image worthy of exposure and attention…

These are intended to be a conversation starter… so feel free to join the discussion on our social networks.

Banner image courtesy of Alastair Mclachlan.

www.alastairmclachlan.co.za and Instagram: @intermission

Editor’s comment: “The image exhibits a beautiful perspective and comes up with something different in terms of street photography. I appreciate the angle of shooting, the colors, and the ability to catch the rain. It is also well framed and has fantastic use of shadows – it feels emotive and cinematic. It’s a picture I would come back to.”

Image and text courtesy of Keiichi Ichikawa.

“I am a street photographer and graphic designer based in Tokyo. My photos are mainly composed of the light and shadow of the city. It simultaneously expresses the anxiety and hope of urban dwellers. I’m always looking for a moment to hide in the city and go beyond my imagination.”


Editor’s comment: “This image tells a story even without colors. It’s graphical and shows the ability to work with geometry. It also exhibits a good taste for shadows and highlights and the courage to try complex compositions. Artfully placing a single, searching subject in the center of the frame, it provokes questions of isolation, and of our place in the vast urban world. It’s a feeling that we’ll all have been able to relate to at one time or another, elegantly expressed.”

Image courtesy of Geert Van Den Eede.

www.geertvandeneede.be and Instagram: @gvandeneede

Editor’s comment: “This is a playful composition and it’s clear it’s part of a bigger story. Using black and white photography gives it depth and drama, removing what might distract in color. It’s also a well-balanced composition in which the viewer is led from one focal point to another – a strong narrative flow.”

Image and text courtesy of Joel Sames.

“Colombo, Sri Lanka.”

www.joelsames.com and Instagram: @joelsames

Editor’s comment: “This image is graphical and striking. It exhibits an artistic view for finding beauty in the unexpected, and a good taste for patterns and geometry. It’s one of those oft-ignored moments that looks so satisfying in frame. I especially like the angle of shooting that adds value to the composition. The red characters make a good, subtle contrast with the monochrome range of colors.”

Image and text courtesy of Gonçalo Lobo Pinheiro.

“Rundown neighborhoods contrast with the glitzy Grand Lisboa Hotel on Macau’s skyline.”


Editor’s comment: “This image shows a photographer who’s looking for unique perspectives and interesting compositions. The picture intrigues and makes the viewer curious to know its story – one of culture, tradition, idolation and modernity. I also appreciated the reduced color palette that gives a gritty aspect to this urban landscape.”

Image and text courtesy of Ya’ir Gabriel Magall.

“This image is from a series shot in Chongqing in January 2019. The Chinese Megacity inhabits more than 30 million people. In contrast to this big number, the photos engage single humans living in the city.”

www.magallfilms.de and Instagram: @magallfilms

Editor’s comment: “The image has a great composition, in which old and the new are effortlessly combined. I appreciate the neutral tones of the background and the color contrast introduced by the character – here that well-known dab sky worjs. It’s obvious that the photographer has found a good balance between storytelling and aesthetics.”

Image courtesy of Dimitar Harizanov.

www.spidermandimilano.com and Instagram: @mitaka_neverdead

Editor’s comment: “What a striking, vertigo-inducing perspective. It juxtaposes modern architecture and green space and makes use of lines and patterns wisely. I liked the simple chromatic and the use of reflections – no doubt not easy to get right when you’re dangling at this height!”

Image courtesy of Hansen Van Aken.

www.hansen-van-aken.com and Instagram: @hansen_van_aken

Editor’s comment: “This is a very good high-key photograph. I like that the focal point is on the landscape while the man-made structures are just in frame – that’s clever, creating both a visual juxtaposition of the two, but also a subliminal comment on the more important. I also like the sharpness and the ability to work with such difficult lighting conditions.”

Image and text courtesy of Dillon Marsh.

“Varanasi in India is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is steeped in the fluctuations of life and death, peace and mayhem, creation and demolition.”

www.dillonmarsh.com and Instagram: @dillonmarsh

Editor’s comment: “Through bold color, this image documents a poor neighborhood in an inviting way. It exhibits storytelling abilities and a deep engagement with the subject. It also shows good technique as both the composition and the exposure are strong. I especially liked the juxtaposition of people and buildings – not an inch of frame is wasted.”

Image courtesy of Maurizio Targhetta.

www.mauriziotarghetta.it and Instagram: @mauriziotarghetta

Editor’s comment: “With its dark and gritty composition this image tells in just a few straight lines and patterns a well-built story. It’s clear that the photographer engaged with the subject. The image also exhibits an artistic eye; one that didn’t forget to include the clouds in this block composition to add even more drama.”

Image and text courtesy of Fabian Muir from his series Megalopolis.

“This image is from my ongoing project Megalopolis, examining the rapid construction and expansion of in many cases unheard of Chinese megacities, specifically people’s interactions with their monumental surroundings as well as their attempts to seek quieter moments to offset increasingly dense and vertiginous urban environments. In the process we observe settings in which people can appear secondary and subservient as they wend their way beneath dizzying motorways and belittling, monotonous architecture. Here such vistas constitute a vision of the future.”

www.fabianmuir.com and Instagram: @fabianmuir

Editor’s comment: “This image has a strong narrative and exhibits a social contrast that adds value to the composition. It has a strong focal point and good technique, particularly in the timing. The theme is well-constructed and the two levels of the image come together in a way that’s both striking and natural.”

Image courtesy of Martin Grabner.


Editor’s comment: “This image is dramatic and strong – simple but effective. The use of black and white adds a real clarity to a masterly executed idea; that nothing is permanent – that we find ourselves on an inexorable cycle of creation, destruction and renewal.”

Image courtesy of Femke Dee from her series Havana.

www.femkedee.com and Instagram: @femkedee

Editor’s comment: “This image has a simple composition that focuses on patches of color. It’s interesting and arresting. There’s a story that I’m curious to discover – I wish I could peak around the corner, following this boy through the frame. The color contrast is very good – especially in difficult night-time conditions, and the lines lead the viewer through entire image.”

Image courtesy of Filiberto Galli.

Instagram: @filgalli

Editor’s comment: “This is an artistic composition that shows a photographer who has found his photographic voice. It’s dramatic and catchy, well balanced, and daring. Choosing a monochrome composition was a good idea.”

Image courtesy of Gil Bartz.

www.gilbartz.de and Instagram: @gil_bartz

Editor’s comment: “This is graphical and elegant. It demonstrates good knowledge of high-key photography and a courage to work with emptiness. It has strong focal points and sharp edges, and I appreciate the subtle message this image conveys.”

Image and text courtesy of Nicholas Brewer from his series Ghost Signs of London.

“Painted signs have a long history dating back to Roman times. Sometimes called Faded Ads, Brick Ads or my preferred name Ghost Signs they cling to the walls of a Nation of Shop Keepers. They are victims to urban development and the ongoing digital revolution changing how we receive adverts. They are a document to previous goods and services, offering a glimpse of advertising heritage in London.”

www.nicholasbrewer.co.uk and Instagram: @nicholasbrewerphotography

Editor’s comment: “This image is beautifully executed – telling an urban story with clarity. In a single frame we feel a strong sense of place and identity, and of history, culture, consumerism, even dreams – the street may be crumbling, but a single gambling win could whisk us away from it. Through earthy tones juxtaposed with that single, on-brand blue we are struck with what is now, and what once was.”

Image courtesy of Petar Mitrovic from his series North Korea.

www.petar-photos.com and Instagram: @petarphoto

Editor’s comment: “This image is playful, colorful, and artistic. It exhibits the ability to work with patterns and to find something interesting in the dullest of landscapes. I enjoyed the analogy: from an urban neighborhood into a Lego-like game. “

Image and text courtesy of Ryan Kost.

“This photo was taken at a school in Trinidad Cuba. I was walking by a crumbling wall when I came across this little hole. It was maybe 8 inches long by 6 inches high. When I took a peak inside it was a perfect framed scene of kids playing basketball during recess. For me this photo represent so much. Clearly it’s just a glance at life. I do not pretend to command expertise on Cuba after my brief visit, but I did get a glimpse of what life is like and in the end it is a place full of abundant life and humans being humans. One of my favorite photography quotes is by Sally Mann – “Photographs open doors into the past but they also allow a look into the future”. Even though many Cubans have suffered through incredible hardships and repression and much of the infrastructure is crumbling, they remain vibrant and full of life and play. Thanks in large part to Obama, many Americans like myself can now visit a place that has lived in our perceived imaginative past and hopefully with a bit of a better understanding and restoring relations we can look to a brighter future with Cuba. It has long been a forbidden fruit but now we have the chance to taste it and savor in all of its complex flavors.”

www.ryankostphotography.com and Instagram: @rkostphotography

Editor’s comments: “This is a frame in image that tells a complex story with a wonderfully simple framing device. The image has good color contrast and a strong focal point.”

Image and text courtesy of Urszula Chylaszek.

“Shankill district, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Every summer on the night of 11-12th July hundreds of bonfires are being lit throughout the whole country as a part of The Twelfth. It’s celebrated mostly in protestant working class areas. Building bonfires starts a few months earlier. It’s usually teenagers and young men who do it but local kids often come to the bonfire and help or just play around and have fun.”


Editor’s comments: “The image has an interesting perspective, which gives importance and scale to its subject. It’s well balanced and has a good subject. I would like to know more about the story behind it. I also like the use of patterns to create a composition that is in one sense very simple, but filled with visual interest.”

Image and text courtesy of Linda Van Slobbe from her series Urban Decay.

“I fell in love with the forgotten world that is out there. Exploring abandoned buildings and photographing them has become the number one reason for travelling. Not the average holiday when all you do is explore these fragments of yesteryear but I enjoy the silence and the decay. Often my mind drifts and I wonder what these places would look, sound and smell like when they were still in use. This image is a location spotted on Google Earth which we then checked during our travels through Georgia. Our excitement was huge when we walked in and saw the dome in decay.”

www.fragmentsofyesteryear.nl and Instagram: @fragments.of.yesteryear

Editor’s comments: “A simple, symmetrical composition that pays off very well. The subject is well chosen (and well researched from the sound of the statement!) and the perspective emphasizes both the degradation and the magnificence of this place. The frame within a frame within a frame composition creates something visually striking, and provides a subtle metaphor for the layers of history present. I appreciate the use of the columns as a geometric feature.”

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