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Michael Salisbury

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Visualizing Chicago as an abandoned metropolis

Photographer Michael Salisbury’s new #chiminuschi series offers a new look at the famous city

What would Chicago look like without Chicagoans? That’s something that photographer Michael Salisbury was curious about when he was working with a new camera system. Through the use of framing and editing, Salisbury has created a series of photos that reveal a Chicago that looks abandoned. Imagine, a major metropolis with its iconic skyline as a ghost town. We checked in with Salisbury to learn about his inspiration for and how he produced the series.


Can you tell us a bit about the concept for this project and why you're doing it?

I was shooting for a project with PhaseOne, documenting the architecture in Chicago. I was getting quite annoyed with all the people and cars getting in my shots, so I decided to remove them altogether. Once I saw the results from the first image, I was hooked, and decided to keep it going into its own project.

How are you able to capture one these images? Is it about editing, waiting for the right shot, or both?

It's both. The images you see are composites of 10-15 images. I capture empty space in each photo, then combine them all in post. A lot of it comes from patience, with some editing as well.

Michael Salisbury


What is it about seeing an empty streetscape that is fascinating?

I think it's so against what we perceive as normal. For example, my favorite shots from the set are the empty highways. It's something you never see normally, and quite fascinating to me.

So basically we have a pretty good idea of what Chicago will look like after doomsday?

Perhaps... Though the intent wasn't to show an apocalyptic scene.

Michael Salisbury


Your other photos have this dreamy, almost cyberpunk feel to them—be it through your composition combined with moody weather and editing. This still has that effect, but it's a bit different.

It is slightly different. This was the first time I had done anything with medium format, so the editing process was a little different. I think it shows in a way, but still recognizable as my work.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

Nothing worth discussing yet, but I'm always working on something new.

Where can readers find more of your work?

You can see more of my work on Instagram and Facebook.

Michael Salisbury
Michael Salisbury
Michael Salisbury
Michael Salisbury

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