Unconscious Places

Crosby Street, Soho, Nueva York 1978 | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

While Thomas Struth was studying at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1973–80, he began photographing the streets of the city, first using a 35 mm camera, then a large-format plate camera. Shortly after, during a nine-month stay in New York, he photographed the streets of that city’s neighborhoods, capturing their characteristics and atmosphere.

The images he subsequently took in different cities abandoned the central perspective of his earlier works. Struth photographed buildings and urban landscapes, presenting social and economic developments in concentrated form. The leveling aspects of globalization, the structural results of fast- growing late-twentieth-century economies, and the effects of an increasing world population are the subjects of the photographs in the series Unconscious Places, a title that refers to the visible traces of the unconscious social processes that have been inscribed in urban structures.