By Jack Williams
While taking a break, this photographer also opts to take in a, well, fake also, travelling the world to photograph cities and buildings that serve as illusions.
Gregor Sailer’s unique series has taken him to the likes of Mosul recreations situated in the Mojave Desert, California; a New York-style town in Sweden, used to test cars; and a Dutch village in China, giving the locals or Chinese tourists a taste of Europe.
The photographer, who is based in Tyrol, Austria, came up with the idea for his project in 2015, having initially researched the likes of backdrops, illusions and artificially created urban constructions.
In total, 37-year-old Gregor’s intrigue took him to 25 locations across seven countries and three continents.
Gregor said:”Generally, I am much more interested in taking pictures of architecture and to transport the content through architectural structures than taking pictures of human beings.
“Here I was looking for this kind of tightrope walk between illusion and reality.
“To construct illusions and break with them, to disillusion, to play with visual realities.
“The aim of the project is to enable access to the world of fakes, copies and backdrops.
“The visitor gets the possibility to follow and question these sometimes absurd developments of today’s society.”
Some of the most interesting and exhilarating locations to visit, Gregor said, were the urban warfare training environments.
The series, photographed between 2015 and 2017 and entitled “The Potemkin Village”, resulted in a recently-released book by the same name.
The term Potemkin Village stems from a legend about Russian Girgori Potemkin, who, according to reports, built impressive yet fake villages along a route Catherine the Great was once due to travel.
Today, the term is used to describe a facade that is aimed to hide something undesirable beneath.
Understanding this history, Gregor said, is important in realizing the meaning behind his naming choice.
Shows of the images are planned for Gregor’s native Austria, as well as the likes of France, Germany and Russia.
Gregor said: “I am absolutely happy about the great, positive feedback.
“It couldn’t be better and that is kind of a motor which motivates me to continue my work in general.
“This certain project is finished for now. But who knows what happens in the future?”