The city of Miami is equally pretty and gritty. Vintage neon hotel signs contrast with the Wynwood cascade of graffiti over chain-link and vacant lots. Ads for luxury towers bump up against rent-by-the-week hotels. Garish greens and reds compete in shop windows that tout signs for TATTOOS and BUDWEISER. Bass-heavy music booms from pickups in the constant cool breeze.
It is all too much, and this excess is its visual fuel. Everything is too tall, too big, too amped-up. Miami is all surf style, a way of being that exposes the underbelly of America thumping along beneath the top 1%.
In Reykjavik, the streets look like scale models of streets, the houses brightly colored with aluminum cladding and shaped like a child’s drawing of a house. Nothing is out of place.
Even the street signs are crayon-colored in blue and red and yellow.
Look more closely, though, and you can spot security cameras angled from eaves. There is an ominous feeling to such perfection, such peacefulness. One begins to long for a swath of graffiti to deface a sunny wall.
The grand buildings along the avenue in St. Petersburg—the palaces, cathedrals and department stores—are strung together overhead by a dizzying network of electrical and phone cables. Reflections in shop windows catch glimpses of lime and tangerine signs, official-looking seals and a field of daisies.
This is the street celebrated by Gogol and Dostoevsky, and where the cafe still exists where 19th-century luminaries gathered. The images present a jigsaw version of the thoroughfare, piecing together historical echoes and vibrant street life.