There is no doubt that San Francisco is one of the loveliest places in the world. It has one of the most beautiful skylines, however Angela May Chen found an offbeat way to admire the city by the bay. She prefers looking towards the ground for a view of what can normally be seen up above. The photographer and designer shot some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks reflected perfectly in puddles after some downpours and then flipped the images.
As a result, the San Francisco-based Chen has rediscovered the charm of her city in its mirrored reflections. Chen’s surreal collection shows the Sanfran urbanscape in puddles of rainwater. By aiming her camera on the ground instead of the horizon, Chen is able to reinvent taken-for-granted iconography as she transforms them into seemingly disjointed, conceptual, and sometimes bewildering visuals, throwing you off balance. From Chen’s creative perspective the city is filled with unexpected surprises. Luckily for us she is able to share what her unique viewpoint is through her camera.
There is something absorbing about looking at the world through a puddle. Initially these unlikely photographs seem unreal, but perhaps that is the whole point. Simply by shooting reflections, Chen alters the architecture quite profoundly into magical imagery that is almost subliminal as they are framed on the concrete ground.
Every reflection is no less real than to gaze at the actual thing, seeing each structure very much in its actual element. The photographs actually immerse you even more, making you feel as if you were actually walking the sidewalks of the charming streets of San Francisco. One thing Chen is able to confirm is that whether right side up or upside down, actual or reflected, San Francisco is a city just oozing with delightful charm.