During the past six years, Thomas Wrede has returned repeatedly to the billboards of Manhattan as a photographic motif. In doing so, he has frequently concentrated on details viewed artfully in relation to people and atmosphere. The method turns the city into a stage set on which the larger-than-life ideals of the advertising industry merge imperceptibly with the realism of the street and the reality of life. While the allure of appearances outshines the bleakness of reality, the contrast generated in this way serves to intensify the fast-paced vitality of a city constantly reinventing itself.
As in earlier series of photographs, so in this one Wrede’s main interest is in shifts in the relative size of things and in the generation of different levels of reality. Snapshots of multilayered situations combine to create a classic collage, a real collage that exists only for that split second in which the shutter is depressed and only when glimpsed from the camera’s own angle.