While cartography can be considered an art in itself, illustrator Ed Fairburn has fused portraiture with street grids and topography in his latest works. He pencils and inks the faces of his subjects onto maps, searching for moments to blend macroscopic terrain with human features. This pattern-finding takes a special eye and careful hand, and his figurative studies include works that project onto Bartholomew, Germany, and even a roadmap of Cambridge. To Fairburn, a street can easily outline the curve of a smile and the red highways can fracture across a solemn face, creating a hauntingly beautiful representation of human expression.

via – Photographs © Ed Fairburn

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ABOUT KIMBERLY LI - Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.