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Entropy, impermanence, and above all, the “archaeology of the present”, are the themes running though Amélie Labourdette‘s series “Empire of Dust”. Shot in southern Italy, the images show intriguing landscapes that fuel the imagination of the viewer. Concrete structures adorn steep mountain sides or rise from lush green vegetation. Left behind unfinished as the financial crisis struck, these remnants of a recent era become something entirely different in contrast to their initial purpose. The concrete skeletons are now a part of the environment they inhabit. There is a surreal atmosphere in the photographs, as the structures are situated somewhere in between ruins of a dystopian world, modern sculptures, and monuments of a utopian society. This fine line between reality and imagination adds an intriguing layer to the series and transforms the viewer into a spectator overlooking the past, present, and future, all at the same time. Bright and opaque lighting along with minimal shadows enhance the “unreal” tone of the images and the nature of the ruins, which seem suspended in time, in between worlds. “Empire of Dust” won the Architecture Category in the Professional Competition of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. Visit the photographer’s site to see more of the her work, including a second part of this series, taken in France and Spain. Images courtesy of Amélie Labourdette.

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