For nearly a decade, architectural photographer 杨潇 Yang Xiao has travelled the world, capturing historical landmarks and monuments at night, particularly those left over from the days of the Soviet Union, dotted around central and eastern Europe.
Today, many of these huge structures have been left abandoned and neglected which gives a dystopian, almost futuristic feel to the Spanish-based creative's series.
The ongoing project, Eternal Monuments In The Dark, began in 2012 when Yang Xiao visited Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, also known as the Buzludzha Monument, in Bulgaria. "Since then I have explored over 40 countries in the world, focusing on photographing abandoned places, monuments, brutalist and Soviet modernist architecture," she tells Creative Boom. "Many of them are shot at night by light painting photography."
From Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia to Montenegro, Romania, Latvia, Albania and Germany, the structures are each unique and have been captured with blurred stars or eery light against a backdrop of fog, giving the impression that we're seeing alien spacecraft visiting our humble planet. In many, we see a lone figure seemingly approaching the structure – sinister or mysterious, any could be the cover of a bestselling sci-fi novel. Kim Stanley Robinson, take note.
Yang Xiao says she wants to "capture and re-create the structures' eternal beauty" while "creating surreality from reality is a fascinating game to play". It's something that motivates her to keep exploring. Our personal favourite is her shot of The Iron Fountain with a stunning purple sky and electrical storm as the background – yes, there's some post-production going on but, for the most part, Yang Xiao works with what she's got.
A photographer and designer from Beijing, China, 杨潇 Yang Xiao has lived in Spain since 2018 where she first studied and worked as a user experience designer. Today, she's a full-time photographer, turning her creative hobby into a profession. Follow her work on Instagram or visit www.inhiu.com.