Architectural monsters from found photographs

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Artist Jim Kazanjian creates intricately labyrinthine architectural marvels — all from photographs found on the web.

"I am fascinated," said Portland-based artist Jim Kazanian, "with the inherent properties within architecture that allow it to generate narrative constructs, specifically when combined with the medium of photography."

His art consists of carefully selected photographs painstakingly collaged together to create strange, architectural chimeras. With his monochromatic palette, half-decaying structures and aversion to the laws of gravity, he has managed to create a dark, ominous world redolent with mythology and folklore.

And his work is seamless — something Kazanian works hard to achieve, drawing from a vast library of images collected from the internet, and deliberately choosing ones that match as closely as possible in perspective and light before manipulating them in Photoshop.

"At the moment, I have around 25,000 images in my collection," he told CNET Australia. "Thephotos I look for are usually of very generic things: houses, rocks, smoke, etc. It's important that the images I use are nondescript enough so that the source does not draw attention to itself. I prefer collecting amateur travel photos off Flickr and Panoramio, as well as historical, public domain material from the Library of Congress. The trick, of course, is finding quality material in high resolution."

By approaching his work in this way, the process becomes more natural; it frees Kazanian up to find and select images that match his vision rather than having to go out and contrive a scene that he shoots himself, giving him more time and energy to spend on the actual construction.

And the results — as you can see for yourself in the gallery below — create a Frankenstein's monster-esque visual mystery for the viewer to discover and solve.

"I generally see the structures as entry points into my images," he said. "I am interested in setting up the potential for my work to be, in a sense, 'unravelled' by the viewer. The process of viewing becomes the navigation of a space where the mundane intersects the strange, and the familiar becomes alien."

You can find more of Kazanjian's work on his personal website and Facebook page, and prints for sale at 23 Sandy Gallery.

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