Vedute, Italian for "views", is a genre of painting or print, popular in Italy during the 18th century. A veduta is usually a highly-detailed cityscape, a view of a famous landmark or monument, or some other kinds of vista. The genre rose into popularity as a response to the Grand Tour, where young English gentlemen toured the Europe as a part of their education. As cameras didn't exist by then, these paintings and prints became the perfect souvenirs for the Englishmen to take back home, and to share with those who weren't able to travel what the other parts of the continent look like.

Today, thanks to modern technology and globalization, travel has become much easier, and taking photos seems to be accessible to anyone with a decent camera or even phone. Everyday, millions of people flood the famous landmarks and monuments in different parts of the world, but many of them are there just to check in and take selfies to show people they have been there, instead of actually appreciating the beauty of these historical and architectural wonders. The sites of these landmarks have turned into giant photo booths, and the monuments themselves have become photo props.

This ongoing series is a response to the modern tourism. The photos were all taken during the regular hours when these landmarks are open to the public, but through exploring angles and perspectives, I kept all the distractions out of the frame, and thus bring all the attention back to the landmark itself. Working with natural lighting, I treat each monument as a sacred still life object, to highlight its pure architectural elegance. 

Click on the image to enlarge.

photographyMark Zhu