February 29-April 8, 2012
166 Orchard Street
New York, NY
Martin Roemers imbues his photographs with the accelerated pace of the modern world. Metropolis, named after his series of the same name, documents traffic in India, the Middle East, and the Pacific. This investigation of “Megacities” is an evolving project that won him first prize in the World Press Photo competition in 2011. Public transportation and foot traffic transform into wide streaks of candy-colored energy, revealing the interactions between mechanical and natural crowds.
Incessant activity and the rigidity of stoic scenery are in direct contradiction to one another. In Mumbai, India (2007), a busy street is flanked by decrepit balconies and dilapidated vendor booths that sandwich a busy crowd of shoppers. Manila, Phillipines (2010) depicts a group of adolescent boys observing passing vehicles. In both images, unmoving and thus clearer subjects are those in the most danger. Garbage, nature, and faulty architecture are sharp and disposable. The figures and vehicles, in their affinity toward change, are versatile and adaptable. Cars and speed become indicators of advancement in opposition to the environment they’ve infiltrated. They morph into abstract components, beautiful in themselves yet separate from the surrounding delirium of what seems like a struggling landscape. Roemers’s abstraction vouches for the double-edged sword of progress.