Augmented Cities

Photographer, Tim Robberts, Merges The City And Countryside Into New Skylines

‘I’ve always had a foot in the city and a foot in the countryside,’ photographer Tim Robberts told us. ‘I was born in London, brought up in a tiny village (one road, no shop, 3 farms and a river), then London, then Shanghai, then rural Somerset, and now back in London.’

Seeking to explore the relationships between cities and countrysides, Tim found a way to mesh the two different scenes of city and country life together. In his series, Augmented Cities, images of London and New York, recognisable by their famous buildings, are combined with countryside elements such as trees and clouds, creating confusion and ambiguity.

Tim told us more about his blurring of worlds:

The Plus: What first sparked the idea in your mind to combine the city with the country?
Tim Robberts:
The starting point was the relationship between the urban and natural world, but I specifically wanted to make the images feel ambiguous. Are the two elements complimenting each other, or are they in conflict? We see dystopian near-future movies where the world’s cities have been aggressively overgrown by nature. And then we see projects like The High Line in New York where the natural world is carefully curated within an urban framework. I wanted the images to sit somewhere between these two extremes.

TP: How did you develop the idea?
The idea had been in the back of my mind for a year or so, and on a recent trip to New York I went out looking for shots that would work for it. I have a large folder of photos from the last few years that I keep as potential ingredients for projects or composites. I sifted though this, pulling out the images that felt right, and then experimented with combining different images in different ways. I discarded the ones that weren’t quite working, and then chiselled away at the rest to get the final shots.

TP: For this series you used London and New York. What is your favourite city to be in?
It would be impossible to pick out just one city, I want to go back to every city I have been to and see more of it. So I am going to take the easy way out and use the two in this project. New York floors me every time. You look up, down, left or right and you will always see something amazing. And whenever I am in London, I still get a buzz of excitement, it’s familiar but always new.