Lately, we’ve placed the spotlight on some of the most impressive aerial photography projects that show the genre’s affinity with abstract art. The latest on our list is a series by London-based Dimitar Karanikolov, which reveals to us eye-catching but also unsettling beauty of “Chemical Waste Art.”
Dimitar is an architect by profession but also has a passion for travel and aerial photography. This combination has granted him access to some of the most stunning locations for aerial photography, including the chemical waste ponds of Bulgaria.
Beautiful and terrifying at once
“It’s otherworldly! Who would have thought something so terrible can be so aesthetically pleasing?” someone commented on the series.
Dimitar’s series has been described a lot of things, but the most on-point is what he himself used: Beautiful and scary at the same time. There’s no mistaking that the colors, textures and lines come together like abstract oil paintings, as he also noted. But the fact that we’re looking at chemical waste contaminating water sources can easily make us feel unsettled.
The cause of the unexpectedly fascinating abstract imagery is further amplified by the color palette of this series. Shades of red, orange and green highlight the areas affect the chemical waste has spread, and they seem to come with a toxic glow against the shades of gray and dark blue.
The contrast in colors also emphasize the lines and textures of the landscape and the bodies of water that flow through them. Whether this was the result of color grading or otherwise, I think it worked great to catch my attention.
Art for awareness
I think the most important detail about this body of work is how it uses the beauty of abstract aesthetics to deliver an unsettling but important message.
A lot of abstract aerial photography out there is meant to show us the beauty of nature from above. But, this series goes a step beyond that. It shows us the scale of contamination in these spots, and how much toxic waste can cover once it spills and spreads.
By bringing a more pressing context to aerial landscape photography, Dimitar was able to add value to the craft and make it stand out even more.
That said, I like how this series is a good reminder of the many ways we can use photography and other creative mediums to raise greater awareness to major issues. Because of its ability to show us a perspective mostly unseen to us, aerial photography proves perfect for this purpose.
Don’t forget to visit Dimitar Karanikolov’s Behance page to see more of his work.
All photos by Dimitar Karanikolov. Used with Creative Commons permission.