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Cocoons by Peter Steinhauer

22 Aug 2019
By Anna Marks

Peter Steinhauer captures Hong Kong bamboo-caged buildings draped in colourful mesh. 


Award-winning photographer Peter Steinhauer focuses on architecture in dense urban environments, drawing the beauty from industrial objects such as scaffolding, mesh and steel.


In his artistic career, Steinhauer has won many awards including the Ford Foundation grant for his multi-year work in Vietnam, the Black and White Spider Award for Architecture, and in 2018, his ‘Cocoons’ project was published by powerHouse Books.


Steinhauer’s 'Cocoons' consists of 100 images of bamboo-caged buildings in Hong Kong draped in colourful mesh. 'Cocoons' refers to the transformative stage of buildings in construction — from architectural sites to brand-new buildings.


The cloaked fabric around the unfinished buildings resembles how insects cocoon themselves whilst undergoing metamorphosis. Colourful mesh in various colours — green, silver and yellow — are wrapped around the towering buildings like luxurious fabric draping over a series of tables.


Steinhauer’s work documents Hong Kong’s transforming cityscape and each of his images capture the prevalence of bamboo scaffolding — a traditional construction technique used throughout Asia. Hong Kong construction companies wrap the buildings in the vibrant mesh to prevent debris and material from falling during the construction process.


To photograph his buildings, Steinhauer uses a Phase One IQ260 medium format digital back which has a high resolution of 65 megapixels. This is attached to a Cambo WRS 1250 technical camera which is designed for photographing architecture. Steinhauer prefers soft light, which allows him to push the contrast within his photographs without losing structural details. 


Cocoons by Peter Steinhauer is published by powerHouse Books, click here to learn more.



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