Tom Blachford turns Melbourne into a nocturnal “cyperpunk metropolis”

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

Photographer Tom Blachford has used extended exposure times and lens rotation to create an upside-down “impossible dystopia” from Melbourne‘s nighttime skyline.

Perching 55 storeys in the sky, Blachford took the photos from a carefully chosen rooftop in central Melbourne.

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

The set of mind-bending inverted images were taken in situ, using camera tricks rather than post-processing to layer up neon skyscrapers and create a fantastical cityscape

“I am fascinated by how one simple tweak can completely short circuit our brains ability to perceive depth, perspective and time,” said Blachford.

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

Blachford said he wanted to reference the optical illusions created by the Dutch graphic artist, MC Escher, whose drawings show impossible architecture from multiple viewpoints.

Describing the photographs as visions of a “cyperpunk metropolis” and an “impossible dystopia”, the photographer also cited anime and sci-fi films as inspiration for the series.

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

The blue and purple images of seemingly-endless skyscrapers and neon lights are reminiscent of stills from films such as Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner and the 1995 Japanese cyberpunk animation Ghost in the Shell.

Blachford used a similar aesthetic for his photographs of Tokyo, where he shot buildings in the Japanese city at night in scenes devoid of people.

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

To accompany the Melbourne photography set, Blachford has also created a set of five one-off 3D-printed sculptures.

He taught himself to use CAD software and microprocessor programming to 3D print buildings, which he plans to suspend upside-down above the photographs in a gallery setting.

Melbourne by Tom Blachford

For another nocturnal series, Midnight Modern, the Australian photographer shot Modernist landmarks in Palm Springs by moonlight.

His long exposure shots captured iconic Californian architecture such as the Sheats-Goldstein residence and the Doolittle House under the stars.

Director Max Hattler has also used a city skyline to create impossible art, using repetitive animations of Hong Kong’s towering residential blocks for his film Serial Parallels.

Photography is by Tom Blachford.

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