For those of us dreaming of European road trips this summer, a new exhibition of photographs by Michael Nguyen will inspire your travel plans. By The Roadside is a series that focuses on street and urban landscapes, architectural objects and the little details that make Germany, Austria and Italy unique.
Claiming there to be "special in the incidental", the images by Michael Nguyen were taken during the pandemic and show us buildings, streets, staircases, vehicles, and people of the kind we might come across at any time by chance in our everyday lives.
Turning a spotlight on the colours and shapes of each carefully-framed scene, we gain a fresh perspective of the often-mundane elements of our surroundings, whether empty seats in a stadium and their appealing alignment against a bright blue sky or the way a shadow might cast itself across an otherwise dull concrete wall on a summer's evening.
There's always a play on geometric lines and shapes in Michael's work. Of the regular and the symmetrical. You can almost see an ongoing hunt for perfection, too, where all the elements, whether colour, light or surface textures, harmonise to bring us photographs that are as much impressive as they are revealing.
"If we walk with open eyes, we can see interesting, beautiful, but also ugly things on the roadside every day," Michael explains in an interview with Münchner Merkur. "And if we look at the things around us not only with open eyes but also with an open heart and mind, we will discover a world that is otherwise closed to us: sometimes spectacular. Sometimes ordinary, but surprisingly wondrous. Whether it's a view of a modern building, a glimpse of a construction site, a riverbank, a bus stop, or simply a footprint someone has left on the opposite side of the pavement."
Describing himself as a photo artist and poet, Michael Nguyen has lived in Gauting near Munich since 2015. After a long break in the culture industry, he has been devoting himself entirely to art again since 2018. His work focuses on seemingly everyday things, giving them a new perspective and a new soul through a subjective lens.
In this latest series, we accompany Michael on small journeys through parts of Germany, Austria, Italy and elsewhere to discover where a random walk might take us. Through Michael's lens, we get to see his special eye for detail, forcing us to take another look at our own familiar streets and local haunts.
By the Roadside will go on display at Bosco Gauting in Munich from 8 March until 5 May 2022. In the meantime, you can enjoy browsing through Michael's series at nguyensminiaturen.de.